Cities are regulating mobility startups, but ignoring the real problem—there’s still too much space for cars.
All over the country, city leaders are spending their summers devoting careful thought to the number of rentable e-bikes that can be deployed on streets at once, where electric scooters might be parked, and how dockless companies should be punished for violating these terms. Just this week, the National Association of City Transportation Officials, which collates best practices from its 62 member cities, released draft guidelines around the regulation of “small vehicles.”
Yet largely absent from these decisions—at least the public-facing ones—are how cities plan to quickly and dramatically reconfigure their streets to allow people to actually use anything but a car. It’s not like cities haven’t seen this coming. Traditional bike share has seen rapid growth nationwide—ridership in 2017 was up 25 percent over the previous year.
Now, with Uber adding Jump electric bikes and Lime scooters to its app, and Lyft buying the country’s biggest bike-share operator, Motivate, and launching its own Lyft Bikes, the landscape is changing much more rapidly.
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