Micromobility

Micromobility

Micromobility explores the disruption to urban transport that comes from new electric, lightweight utility vehicles. Using the history of computing as a framework, we unpack how e-bikes, scooters and more will change how people get around cities.

Hosted by Oliver Bruce and Horace Dediu.



Micromobility

#8: The Total Addressable Market for Micromobility

October 17, 2018 at 10:00PM • 52 minutes

Micromobility has an addressable market of more than $1.4 trillion dollars annually just in the US, a figure that makes it more valuable than longer distance transport addressable by cars.

That's the message in this episode where we run through the talk 'When Micromobility Attacks' that Horace gave at the recent Micromobility Summit in Copenhagen.

We look at:
- how US trip data typically exhibits log-normal disibutions (and an explanation of what this means!)
- how many of the 2 trillion vehicle trips taken in the US annually would potentially be served by micromobility (min 20)
- how Marchetti's constant (one hour of travel a day) relates to micromobility's benefits (min 23)
- how adoption of micromobility would impact car demand, and why this is relevant to automakers (min 26)
- why these high volume, short trips are actually more valuable than average car trips on a dollar basis. (min 30)
- how time spent travelling will actually drive adoption of micromobility in highly congested cities. (min 34)
- Why 3 times more time is spent on short trips than longer trips in vehicles, and the implications for micromobility (min 36)
- The impacts this explosion in micromobility might have on carbon emissions and how we can measure that (min 42)


Be sure to check out the slides here (https://www.slideshare.net/asymco/when-micromobility-attacks) and the transcript on our Medium page.


#7: The Dutch cycling experience and je ne sais quoi

October 10, 2018 at 4:00AM • 53 minutes

In this episode, we look at the history of the Dutch cycle infrastructure, the symbiotic tension that we'll see between micromobility and autonomous vehicles, and the intangible quality of cities with vibrant micromobility ecosystems. We also cover:

- the recent spate of news re: the dawning scooter wars (Bird, Lime, Jump)
- San Francisco's highway history
- the cost comparisons for cycling infrastructure vs. car infrastructure, especially when compared to modal share vs. landuse in European cities.
- How the rollout of cycling infrastructure parallels (or doesn't) the rollout of cellular infrastructure in both the US and Europe.
- the creative tension that will exist between micromobility vehicles vs. autonomous cars (walkable neighborhoods vs. exurbia sprawl)
- the 'experience' factor of micromobility, and the unquantifiable value of the thrill of riding a scooter/e-bike vs. passive A-B transport and how this is influenced by the European vs. American views of the world.

The transcript for this episode will be up on our Medium page very soon!
Also worth checking out the Micromobility Summit that Horace will be hosting on January 31st in the Bay Area. Check out Micromobility.io for early bird tickets. More on that next week. Cheers!


#6: Going Premium: The iPhone of bikesharing with Corinne Vogel of Smide

October 1, 2018 at 8:30PM • 40 minutes

On today's episode Horace and Oliver are joined by Corinne Vogel, head of operations at Smide bikeshare based in Zurich, Switzerland.

Smide is a high-end e-bike share system, with speed pedelec bikes that travel up to 30mph/45kph. It's using a completely different approach to the rapid blanket approach from e-scooter rollouts we're seeing elsewhere. It's a fascinating discussion.

Specifically, we touch on:
- who and what their customers are, why they choose Smide over other options and how this parallels to iPhone market positioning.
- the importance of having good relationships with cities (and how they're loved by the governments they work with)
- their unique crowdlending model for financing the launch of new cities
- how they deploy user incentives to help load-balance the network, and the importance of having vehicles that go >70km / 50miles per charge

As always, please find the transcript of the show on our Medium page, or let us know what you think on Twitter at @asymco or @oliverbruce. Thanks!


#5: Scooters and transport ecologies

September 25, 2018 at 2:00AM • 58 minutes

In today’s show we cover the rise of scooter sharing and how different localised constraints result in different micromobility solutions blooming. Specifically:

- The scooter sharing model that Bird pioneered, why it emerged in Santa Monica and why it might not apply to other contexts.
- The history from the Segway to the hoverboard, Boosted Board and on to the current scooter form factor.
- The local variables that need to be considered for micromobility fleet operators.
- The parallels of the rise of micromobility with early cellular, and the Galapagos scenario of ecosystem development.

Note - aware that the last 9 minutes of audio from this episode were mistakenly added (as a hidden gem!) to the end of last week’s podcast. Not everyone caught it, and contextually makes far more sense here! Apologies for any confusion.


#4: Marchetti's constant and the power-network-intelligence matrix of micromobility

September 17, 2018 at 10:00PM • 59 minutes

In this episode, we look at Marchetti's constant and why commute times tend to aggregate at under 1 hour per day. In this episode we also cover:

- how the 1 hour daily commute has been a constant across time, and how that affects how our cities form.
- What the Marchetti's constant is, and how it has driven the explosion in shared scooters and bikes.
- the Segway, why it failed and what it can teach us about the emergent micromobility phenomena.
- The problems with traditional bikeshare systems, and why new layers of technology have helped this.
- The power-network-intelligence matrix for thinking about emergent trends in micromobility.
- How networks can creatively use incentives to solve for the limitations of the vehicles

Plus a conversation about what both Horace and Oliver think the future might look like in a hidden bit at the end.

Transcript of this show is available on our Medium page.


#3: Getting to here - the historical context of micromobility's emergence

September 10, 2018 at 7:00PM • 38 minutes

In this episode, we refine the micromobility categorisation and unpack why urban infrastructure is a leading indicator to adoption.

We run through:
1) Why the development of batteries and small electric motors underpinned the development of micromobility, the importance of off-the-shelf componentry in providing the basis for innovation and why electric will be the dominant powertrain for the coming 10 years.
2) The history of fuel infrastructure in the US, how hard this is to replicate, and why micromobility provides an opportunity to leapfrog this.
3) The history of transit, roading and tramways in major cities globally, and how they provided the conditions for the development of the car.
4) The significance of the standard bike as we know it today, and the impact that it had on society.
5) The emergence of cars in cities, the safety battles fought, and the development of signals, licensing and traffic segmentation, and the implications on that for alternative vehicle types.
6) How the emergence of micro mobility will terraform our cities in the same way that the car did.

Transcript of this show is available on our Medium page.


#2: What is micromobility, how do we define it, and why is it disruptive?

September 3, 2018 at 7:00PM • 40 minutes

In this episode, we define the term micromobility and what is/isn’t in the categorisation. We run through:

1) Why micromobility can be defined as utility focussed urban transport in sub 500kg vehicles, and predominantly electrically powered.
2) The background of how Horace came to see micromobility’s potential to disrupt the automobile industry.
3) Why e-bikes are some of the best city-based transportation mode option- hint: it’s the fastest way across town and can be parked anywhere.
4) How to think about the categorisation of different types of micromobility devices, and why that matters.
5) How the development of micromobility is paralleling the development of personal computing and why we’re still in 1976.
6) Why car obesity has provided ripe opportunity to develop micromobility options in the marketplace.
7) The key difference between invention and innovation and how this applies to micromobility.

Bonus! Why Horace thinks that riding an electric bike is more thrilling than driving a Porsche.

Transcript of this show is available on our Medium page.


#1: Setting the scene for the great unbundling

August 28, 2018 at 6:00AM • 36 minutes

In this inaugural episode, we outline the key themes and issues we want to address in the show series including:

1) Defining micromobility - what is it, where did it come from and why does it matter?
2) The disruptive potential of micromobility. With this, we will unpack why the current fixation on autonomy with automobiles is misplaced, and what a distributed, connected robot of micromobility vehicles might look like.
3) The great unbundling of the car - what does it mean, and why the micromobility was required to make multimodality a feasible unbundled option for travel.
4) How the emergence of micro mobility tracks the development of the early days of computing, and why we’re still really in 1976 with the emergence of the Apple I.
5) How disruption from the low end induces demand and drives such steep adoption curves. We also unpack why their scale will permit the development of large scale computation platforms, especially vs. traditional car platforms.
6) The impact of the emergence of micromobility on infrastructure and how cities function.
7) How the business models of this might emerge, how securitisation of the assets deployed will enable rapid deployment, and lay the foundations for tokenised solutions that align the interests of users, operators and investors together.

We also hit Marchetti’s constant (time budgets for travel) and log normal distributions of travel time. We end on a thought experiment on how teleportation would change everything.

Transcript of this show is available for commenting and highlighting on the shows Medium page.