Since the launch of electric scooters cities have wrestled with a number of issues including permitting, regulating, deployment, parking, use of public right of way, safety, speed limits, and data sharing to name just a few. Shared micromobility use, in particular scooters, has exploded over the last 3 years. According to NACTO (National Association of City Transportation Officials), most of the micromobility growth has come from e-scooters. scooter ridership increased from 38.5 million in 2018 to 88.5 million in 2019, a growth rate of more than 100%, while station-based bikeshare ridership increased 10%, from 36.5 million to 40 million.
Early into the scooter revolution, cities grappled with the basics of managing a somewhat overnight phenomenon that attracted widespread use in many cities across the U.S. Over the last couple years the adoption of data sharing agreements between cities and micromobility operators have helped tame the wild west so to speak. Partnerships between cities and private mobility analytics companies such as Blue Systems have allowed cities to visualize this data in ways that help cities create permitting policies, manage deployment, enforce regulations, and ensure the safe operation of these scooters in often dense urban environments.
Blue Systems uses MDS data as launching pad to integrate new forms of data for cities to utilize
Blue Systems has developed a cutting-edge smart mobility platform with ground-breaking capabilities including; strong aggregation, visualization and data protection capabilities, intuitive customer path and simple operational structure. This flexible system adapts to different urban mobility environments as well as many types of vehicles and city infrastructure. Most recently Blue Systems has helped unique operators such as Kiwibot (autonomous delivery robots) adapt their data to fit MDS (Mobility Data Specification) in collaboration with the City of San Jose.
MDS, a project of the Open Mobility Foundation (OMF), is a set of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) focused on dockless scooters, bicycles, mopeds and carshare. MDS is a key piece of digital infrastructure that supports the effective implementation of mobility policies in cities around the world.
Blue Systems is exploring innovative ways and collaborations with new technology companies to expand the type of data that is being collected in order to provide cities with much richer data. Richer data includes ‘infrastructure data’ such as identification of sidewalks, streets, and bike lanes. This type of data has largely been hard to collect and inaccurate at best. CEO of Blue Systems, Christophe Arnaud stated “Our goal is to provide cities with a broad range of data from mobility operators as well as new data sources. The better the data that is available to cities the easier it becomes for cities and mobility operators to work together. The exploration and integration of new data sources is an important step in our goal to help cities and operators”. Today Blue Systems, through a collaboration with technology company Drover AI, can help cities visualize this richer data and enable a host of new use cases for cities to better manage the public right of way and make improvements to urban infrastructure.
Drover AI introduces new capabilities to help cities monitor compliance of micromobility fleets and capture data from city streets with its’ Pathpilot technology
While MDS provides valuable insights for cities into fleet and vehicle behavior, the data available are only as good as the location data provided by the GPS module equipped on the vehicles. Unfortunately, the accuracy and reliability of these GPS modules can vary drastically and degrades considerably in dense urban environments where location awareness is most critical. Drover’s technology is built to address these inadequacies by leveraging edge-based AI to enable micromobility vehicles to distinguish between specific infrastructure categories like sidewalks, bike lanes and streets without relying on GPS. Operators can use this precise ‘lane-level’ awareness to enforce real-time user notifications or speed enforcement and cities benefit from more granular understanding of where vehicles are being ridden while also having access to data insights that can help inform planning decisions. Beyond safety, responsible right-of-way management (coupled with ADA compliance in the US) is a top concern for cities with the addition of new modalities. PathPilot’s capabilities extend into parking verification and management, greatly reducing the reliance on user-generated photos and user compliance when ending rides.
It is by working with partners like Drover which have the ability to provide better data that cities will be able to unlock the full benefits and value provided by Blue Systems’ data aggregation platform as new mobility systems come to market.