The challenges to be faced
Our cities are built for cars and – in the luckiest cases – pedestrians. Making room for the new micromobility vehicles is not something that can happen overnight, and it poses challenges in terms of both regulations and infrastructure.
A major challenge concerns the safety of these vehicles, particularly for e-scooters.
The latest consolidated ISTAT data covers 2021 and reports a nearly fourfold increase in the number of e-scooter accidents over the previous year. However, we should keep in mind that the year of comparison, 2020, was the year of the pandemic, when road traffic was virtually zero for a few months.
The new draft of the national Traffic Code currently under discussion could in any case extend the requirement to wear helmets, in addition to introducing mandatory license plates and insurance for owned vehicles (sharing services already include insurance coverage).
Another problem that needs to be addressed in many cities is vandalism and theft of ride-sharing vehicles, which threatens the profitability of the industry and reduces the vehicles available to users.
The growth of the global micromobility market is undeniable. According to McKinsey, if we consider China, Europe and North America together, the market could reach $100 billion a year by 2030.
In Italy, too, cities offering shared mobility services based on small electric vehicles are steadily increasing.
According to data from the latest report from the National Sharing Mobility Observatory, in 2021 for the first time the number of provincial capitals with sharing services exceeded the number without: 62 compared to 46.
Supply is concentrated in the North, where 35 out of 48 provincial capitals offer at least one sharing service, compared to 11 out of 28 in Central Italy and 16 out of 32 in the South.
Milan, Rome, Turin, Florence, Palermo and Naples are the cities with the greatest availability of vehicles, with the last two growing in the last year thanks mainly to the arrival of e-scooters. Compared to total mobility sharing services, micromobility accounted for 83% of rentals in 2021: in short, e-scooters and bikes now clearly outnumber cars. Data for the first half of 2022 in Rome and Milan showed a strong increase in sharing services of 83% and 113% respectively, growth driven mainly by e-scooters in Rome and bicycles in Milan.
E-scooters are the fastest-growing vehicle, particularly in shared mobility.
In 2021 alone, they accounted for half of the total rentals in Italy (17.8 million), more than doubling the previous year's performance. E-scooter sharing registrations exceeded 2 million in 2021, for about 18 million rentals.
The year 2021 saw a major increase in services offering e-scooter sharing in Italy (20 more than in 2020) with an increase in the fleet to nearly 46,000 shared e-scooters on Italian roads. The 24 cities where the service was active in 2020 were joined by 15 more in 2021, reaching even smaller cities than the first, such as Benevento, Brindisi, Frosinone, Imperia, Piacenza, Prato, Ragusa and Teramo.
On the e-bike front, growth is particularly visible in Rome and Milan with rentals increasing by 90% and 157% respectively, from January to June 2022.