Two-wheel micromobility in the form of shared electric bikes, scooters, and motorbikes has become commonplace over the past two years worldwide. What initially started in the USA and Europe, micro mobility is now embraced by other countries, too.
The physical footprint required to transport people over relatively short distances is being reduced by electric scooters, docked and dockless shared bikes, and other vehicle types. By “right-sizing” the vehicle, they have the potential to maximise available space, reduce reliance on private vehicles, improve public transportation, and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases–all at the same time.
Though the concept took a backseat during the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of micromobility companies has surged, and many have grown in the D2C (direct-to-consumer) space. By 2030, the market for micromobility is anticipated to reach US$195.42 billion.
Indeed, as micromobility is gaining importance, its fleet sizes are growing, too. However, the biggest challenges are orchestrating vehicle-maintenance field teams and ensuring the operational condition of micro vehicles. Recharging batteries, moving vehicles from low to high-use areas, pulling out broken vehicles from streets, and carrying out timely battery swaps are all examples of fleet management in the micromobility business.
Having said that, the role of fleet operators has evolved to include a variety of more complex responsibilities, once that was limited to collecting and charging vehicles. For example, if the user is unable to find a nearby scooter/bike or the app is functioning too slowly, users will look elsewhere.
However, micromobility service providers can effectively alleviate these challenges with cutting-edge fleet technology solutions.
Efficient Route Planning
Using location data powered by GPS tracker technology, fleet management solutions can help micromobility companies to deliver seamless customer service with route planning. Fleet operators can offer turn-by-turn navigation, providing a wholly branded end-to-end navigation experience.
Users can simply input their desired destination, and the app guides them with everything–from finding a nearby vehicle to choosing the route based on the vehicle type, avoiding unsafe or restricted zones, and directing the rider to a convenient and nearby parking area. Getting all the information for a smooth ride within the city in a single app interface ensures a positive customer experience.
Traffic and Safety
Undoubtedly, the significance of micromobility is unparalleled; however, governments are concerned about the safety and overcrowding of vehicles on the street. Here, safety events around shared scooters or bikes are primarily due to ill-maintained vehicles or improper management of delicate items like batteries. Fleet technology solutions track vehicle maintenance and repairs, alert fleet authorities about upcoming maintenance tasks, track maintenance histories and provide reports on vehicle performance.
Companies can reduce downtime and extend the lifespan of their vehicles, reducing maintenance costs and fostering safety. Additionally, artificial intelligence can help optimise vehicular and pedestrian traffic flows. AI can quantify and categorise pedestrians, vehicles, movement patterns, and traffic hotspots. Road and traffic authorities can detect traffic offences, for instance, riding without a helmet. When used with GPS tracking, video data can give a holistic view of navigation patterns to help improve traffic, enforce traffic laws, and protect riders.
Predict Peak Demand
Micromobility companies have to ensure that every user is able to get a bike without waiting much for it. Some areas might have more demand during certain days than others. How can companies manage demand fluctuations effectively? GPS-empowered location data is the key here–it can be used to predict where and when there will be an increase in pedestrian traffic so that more resources can be stationed there. Companies can also have additional insights–how users use the vehicle, the average duration of trips, etc.
Further, fleet management solutions like telematics update battery status, track battery usage, and alert fleet managers to potential battery issues. Fleet authorities can quickly address these issues and ensure users don’t face any breakdowns and sometimes even accidents. Companies can extend the lifespan of their batteries, reduce maintenance costs, and improve the performance of their electric vehicles.
Recovery of Assets
The profitability of shared bikes, scooters, and motorbike operators is impacted by several obstacles. On the one hand, they have a very high rate of theft and vandalism; on the other, they have to pay a lot for redistribution and charging. This problem is further aggravated due to dockless operation wherein users can dispose of bikes anywhere, making a recovery, reordering, and positioning expensive and inconvenient.
Here, advanced fleet tracking and telematics solutions notify battery drainage and ensure battery swapping before the problem worsens. AI-based real-time location tracking can help to understand demand fluctuations, streamline redistribution and recharging operations, and recover stolen vehicles.
The future of urban transportation heavily relies on micromobility, and technology will play a crucial role in meeting rising expectations and the demand for moving people. As micromobility continues to grow, investing in fleet management technology will become increasingly important for companies to remain competitive. Continued innovation and investment will likely drive growth in this exciting and rapidly-evolving sector.