The curb has always been used as transactional space for municipalities. Long before the invention of the parking meter, curb space was used to house street vendors, performance art, and information exchange. With this dynamic use of the curb, it’s no surprise that the recent surge in micromobility uses the curb to conduct transactions. Although many cities have been able to effectively manage curb space for automobiles, cities continue to struggle with managing micromobility operations.
“The dilemma of managing micromobility operations that offer dockless scooters, electric bicycles, and bike scooters is a result of a misalignment in oversight and policy approach to this industry,” explains Kimley-Horn’s Jeshua Pringle, CAPP (Atlanta). “Typically, cities permit micromobility operations the way they would traditional brick-and-mortar businesses. After describing their business and paying for a global operating permit, micromobility operators can conduct their business with minimal oversight. Rather than using general business permitting principles, cities should look to parking for strategies to manage micromobility.”
While micromobility operations use a dockless model for parking devices, cities can designate approved parking and no parking areas. Analog approaches to designating approved parking areas—paint, signage, and decals—do not connect to the digital platforms that micromobility operations use.
Similar to the pay-by-app options for vehicle parking, micromobility transactions can incorporate digital designated zones and leverage the QR code platform that micromobility operations already employ. Users can “check in” devices in approved parking areas by scanning QR codes placed on municipal signage. By incorporating the QR scanning into the end-ride process, users will be required to place devices in designated parking areas adjacent to the signage.