The need for sustainable mobility stretches far beyond big cities.
With lower population densities and fewer public transit options, residents of small cities and towns have limited access to personal transportation beyond gas-powered cars. Thankfully, however, that is starting to change.
Across the US and around the world, Bird is working in partnership with local officials and community organizations to bring the benefits of micro-electric transportation to riders in communities of all sizes. As a result of these collaborations, Bird is proudly providing shared micro-electric vehicles to residents and riders in more than 250 cities globally—the first operator to reach this milestone.
“The clock is ticking for us to reduce carbon emissions on a global scale, and eco-friendly transportation is a critical success factor in achieving this goal,” said Rebecca Hahn, Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer at Bird. “Climate friendly transportation must be accessible to everyone who needs it, whether you live in New York City or Fort Scott, Kansas. In partnership with cities with populations as low as 10,000, we’re crafting a successful, no-cost to the city micromobility service that meets the needs of their residents and democratizes access to electric vehicles.”
The Democratization of Eco-Friendly Mobility
Take Vernal, Utah, for example. With a population of under 11k, this quaint city nestled just west of Colorado’s Dinosaur National Monument may not be the first place you’d expect to find a shared micromobility platform that isn’t yet available in places like Tokyo, Japan (population 9.3 million). Yet scooters—and modeshift—are thriving here.
“We tend to think of scooters as reserved for big cities, but they bring a sense of excitement to our small rural city as well,” said Vernal Mayor Doug Hammond. “Riders are relying on them both as an alternate mode of transportation as well as for recreation. We are very pleased Bird arrived in our smaller market.”
It turns out that, contrary to initial assumptions, the benefits of and demand for shared micro-electric vehicles are not inextricably linked to things like population size, topography or even climate.
The cities of Alva, Oklahoma and Solingen, Germany, for example, are separated by nearly 5,000 miles and 15 degrees of latitude, with a combined total population of around 165,000 residents. Amid their clear cultural and geographic differences, however, Alva and Solingen share key similarities: a commitment to sustainable personal transportation and thriving shared scooter services. This is thanks in large part to tailor-made operations made possible by Bird’s network of incredible local logistics partners, or Fleet Managers.
Operating Micro-Electric Mobility in the Heartland
Bird’s Fleet Manager program is helping bring scooter technology into moderately populated communities.
Fleet Managers are local businesses and logistics providers who play a key role in allowing mobility programs to flourish in cities of all sizes around the world. Their deeply-rooted, block-by-block knowledge is an ideal complement to Bird’s predictive demand technology, enabling us to craft custom fleet sizes and provide bespoke services to fit any city’s needs.
And the difference that they’re making in their local communities is remarkable.
“Operating a micromobility fleet has brought myself and my community a step closer to the renewable future ahead,” said Fleet Manager Hoot Royer, whose wife Maria Royer owns H Town Scoots in Hermiston, Oregon. “It’s been satisfying to receive so much positive feedback from riders in my community knowing they have another option to commute that was not previously available. Knowing I was part of that solution for those in need of transportation and introducing my community to another form of electric mobility has been very exciting.”
The Economic Benefits of Eco-Friendly Transportation
The innovation and expansion of such new mobility technology in the heartland brings with it benefits and opportunities that positively impact cities and towns of any size.
A recent study from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School demonstrated that, in addition to their ability to reduce automobile traffic and pollution, shared scooters bring millions of dollars in consumer spending to cities. This is money that can be used to help revitalize downtowns and jumpstart local economies as cities begin to reopen and recover from the global pandemic.
Bird’s Fleet Manager program also ensures that revenue generated from scooters flows directly into the local economy, benefitting the local businesses and logistics providers who bring the platform to life at a hyper-local level.
The path to better, more livable cities starts with sustainable mobility options that are available to everyone. Extending the reach of shared micromobility from booming coastal hubs to heartland cities is a critical step in achieving that mission.
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