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Study reveals high potential of micromobility to reduce energy consumption

222 days ago

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Peak uptake of micromobility in urban areas could boast 2.6% reduction in travel-related energy consumption, cutting 1.2 million auto vehicular miles.

Researcher Bingrong Sun has shared their recent findings in the article ‘Estimating energy bounds for adoption of shared micromobility‘. The publication offers crucial insight into the current research gap regarding micromobility and its impacts in regard to sustainability and energy use. Progress towards fully understanding these impacts allows cities and transportation agencies to make informed decisions when considering the future of micromobility operation.

Micromobility, a summary:

When analysed in the context of dense urban environments, integration of micromobility devices reduces auto usage by a significant level, with potential to reduce the auto vehicle miles travelled in San Francisco alone by 1,278,790 annually. It should also be noted that the majority of micromobility life-cycle emissions come about during either the production phase (50%) or daily collection and charging protocol (43%) rather than during use. The devices therefore consume less energy-per-mile when compared to driving, with this lower-energy phase of use being the main consideration in the paper.

Despite these benefits there are additional factors to recognise when considering micromobility deployment including safety issues, infrastructure capacity and general regulation.

Energy bounds for shared micromobility

Being a relatively new technology, Sun takes a scenario-based approach when computing the energy bounds for micromobility adoption. Traveller preference for this mode of transportation has not yet been solidified due to its relatively short period of real-world application. Results were calculated from publicly available micromobility data and the national household travel survey (NHTS). Energy bounds are calculated in the context of: varying levels of micromobility adoption, diverse trip types, and individual micromobility vehicle types.

When generalizing, the data peak uptake of shared micromobility has the potential to reduce the energy consumption associated with reported passenger travel by 1% at the national level, and 2.6% at the city level. Micromobility-induced transit trips are identified as the largest contributor for energy reduction in this case. 

Source: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trd.2021.103012

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