From WRI, Jan 2019
Shared bikes and scooters are taking off in cities around the world. Case in point: Bird, an electric scooter rental company, is the fastest startup ever to reach “unicorn status,” a $1 billion valuation.
Yet this shared micromobility revolution has a downside: Some bikes and scooters are low quality, leading to breakdowns and waste, while others pile up on sidewalks, crowding out pedestrians. There are also safety concerns.
So will shared scooters and bikes be a fad or a fixture in urban landscapes?
Shared scooters in Moscow, Russia. Photo by MaxPixel
Decisions made this year could help ensure it’s the latter. Ford, Uber, Lyft and General Motors are already entering the micromobility space. Will other companies join? Watch how cities regulate shared bikes and scooters, including when it comes to permits, pricing and safety. The forthcoming New Urban Mobility Alliance (NUMO) can help provide guidance. The big question is whether urban leaders and planners will focus more on designing streets to favor people and micromobility over cars.
7. Is U.S. climate action at a turning point?
The Trump administration has tried to roll back more than 70 environmental safeguards, and counting. But U.S. climate action isn’t dead. In fact, states, cities and businesses are pushing forward, expanding renewable energy targets and carbon pricing.
The 2018 midterm elections ushered in a new batch of climate leaders, including 10 new governors with clean energy plans and more members of Congress who support climate action. The Green New Deal is injecting more enthusiasm into the climate debate than has been seen in recent years.
Watch for new carbon pricing initiatives, additional states joining the 29 that already have clean energy plans, and approaches by states and businesses to tackle emissions from transportation, the country’s largest-emitting sector. Will Congress support carbon pricing, release a new infrastructure deal, or provide more funding for clean technologies? And what stance will 2020 presidential hopefuls take on climate?
“Unlike the last presidential election, when climate change was basically nowhere, will we see it being pretty central?” Steer asked. “This time we believe that’s very likely indeed.”