Weekend Digest: March 1, 2019
Fri Mar 01

Weekend Digest: March 1, 2019

F.B. International’s Weekend Digest is a breakdown of noteworthy items we discovered throughout the week.

More from this week’s theme: Mobility Modernized

Young women ride shared electric scooters in Santa Monica, California, on July 13, 2018. – Cities across the U.S. are grappling with the growing trend of electric scooters which users can unlock with a smartphone app. Scooter startups including Bird and Lime allow riders to park them anywhere that doesn’t block pedestrian walkways but residents in some cities, including Los Angeles, say they often litter sidewalks and can pose a danger to pedestrians. Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP/Getty Images.

What our team is reading this week:

Each week the team at F.B. chooses some ‘good reads’ we think you may enjoy.

Image sourced from Divvy.

Tyler Myles, Marketing Associate

Micro mobility has flipped traditional transportation on its head. In major cities, it’s caused a decline in ridership on public transportation. Personal car ownership is down, too, although ridesharing services—causing an increase in vehicles on the road—have contributed to higher congestion and exhaust levels. Looking at these facts by themselves might lead one to make two conclusions; first, micro mobility is an enemy of public transportation and second, that it causes commuter chaos in cities. Thankfully, the truth is far more complex than that.

It’s true that micro mobility options—such as smart bikes and scooters and rideshare providers—have attracted a sizeable number of commuters away from age-old transit options like buses, trains and taxis. However, a dualistic approach that paints traditional transportation and micro mobility as adversarial, is limited. Not to mention, it ill serves the commuter community. This is evidenced by the fact that most city dwellers use a combination of public transportation and micro mobility each week. In this vein, the way forward in terms of modern transportation has to combine the old and the new. Micro mobility can bring something valuable to the table to ensure a smooth transition: data.

Each rented bike and hailed car provide insights on commuter habits that city transportation specialists can use to develop smarter solutions. Officials in Honolulu have been ahead of the curve on this point. They’ve solidified a 3-year partnership with transportation planning platform Remix. As mentioned, services like Remix take “take vast amounts of data churned out by the many transportation providers and make it usable for transportation officials to arrive at sound, data-based decisions.” Just last year, similar platform Bestmile conducted a study on “shared and unshared service performance, and their ability to reduce kilometers driven and increase fleet efficiency.” Imagine if every major city used its commuter data in this way.

Image sourced from 5G.co.uk.

The best part is that most of this information is already out there. Bike-, scooter-, and ridesharing platforms are overwhelmingly digital. This means service providers already have information on their users’ habits. With AI and autonomous technology on the rise in vehicles, cars are finally becoming more intelligent. That will also lead to more accessible data. Drivers may already be used to sharing city streets with buses, taxis, bikes, and scooters, but interconnected networks—like the 5G highway being built in China—will allow for drivers and city planners to make better informed choices.

Transportation is modernizing at an exponential rate, thanks in part to micro mobility. That isn’t to say that new mobility initiatives have rendered traditional transportation totally obsolete. The data provided by these services can together create smarter transportation solutions in cities around the world.

Events you may be interested in next week:

  • March 5: Sub-Saharan Africa Energy Market Briefing. Commercial Service, will provide an overview of the energy landscape and project opportunities. Speakers include Frost & Sullivan’s energy experts, USAID’s Power Africa, U.S. Commercial Service and Spintelligent (Clarion Events). 10:00 a.m. CST. No charge; advance registration required.
  • March 6: Premium Cocoa Opportunities in Cote d’Ivoire. Direct Line webinar sponsored by the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, U.S. Department of State. Chargé d’Affaires Katherine Brucker and Marc Steen from Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA) will discuss opportunities for U.S. chocolate companies in the premium Ivoirian cocoa market, as part of an exciting new U.S. Department of Agriculture initiative. 11:00 a.m. CST. No charge; advance registration required.

Author: Tyler Myles, Marketing Associate

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