Is micro-mobility a macro solution towards accelerating the future of transit?

24th March 2021
John Gillespie
Principal Engineer

As population density increases within the world’s urban centres, a macro transport problem is arising due to shortages of space and a lack of sustainable, equitable, and feasible transit solutions. However, with global e-scooter usage booming, micro-mobility modes are providing people with more choices and options to move than ever before.

Hosted by John Gillespie, Transport & Mobility Engineer and leader of WSP Middle East’s Future Ready Initiative, this episode features industry insights from Jaideep Dhanoa, Co-founder and CEO of FENIX – a leading micro-mobility operator in the Middle East. FENIX has recently rolled out an innovative e-scooter service across Abu Dhabi, Fujairah, and Ras Al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Doha, Qatar.

WSP Middle East · Is micro-mobility a macro solution towards accelerating the future of transit?

Not able to listen? Here’s an overview of the discussion:

E-scooter usage is booming globally, with this trending form of micro-mobility forecast to surpass half a billion rides worldwide in 2021. However, e-scooters are dividing city legislation across the world and it’s either perceived as an accident waiting to happen or a solution to the elusive first and last mile problem.

In WSP Middle East’s latest podcast Jaideep Dhanoa talks to John Gillespie about the sweeping changes taking place in the micro-mobility space, and discusses how e-scooter uptake in the Middle East could help set the wheels in motion for enhanced transit options, experiences, and opportunities.

Future Mobility Trends

“When we talk about future mobility, I think there are many trends that are in progress: electrification, autonomous, and of course sharing are mega trends that people I think industry workshops have observed,” Jaideep Dhanoa said.

Jaideep added: “I think another trend is the unbundling of the car, and having different form factors for different use cases. When we think of what the future may hold, we need to think about a multimodal transportation network, not just the car centric monopoly that is predominant today, especially in the Middle East.”

Optimize for how we move the most people in cities

“Let’s stop, optimizing for how do we move the most cars and cities. Let’s optimize for how do we move the most people in cities, because we know the trends are everyone is moving into cities, urban populations are growing, and everyone’s getting cars, because that’s what you built for – [if we] build it and they will come, then the problem is going to get worse, and congestion is getting worse,” Jaideep said

Micro-mobility’s generational shift

“Some millennials, [and] Gen Z in are the core of the market. But even those above 35 are 20 to 30% of our users. A lot of people are discovering the value that micro-mobility can bring… It’s also very representative of the populace, so we have all ethnicities of expats; Asian expats, European expats, Emiratis, and there’s a similarity in Qatar and Bahrain. It’s quite pleasing… to see this organic sort of adoption,” Jaideep said.

The best solution hands down is micro-mobility

“The status quo is built on a 20th century archetype: the automobile. Of course, it’s a beautiful invention that has created so much freedom for people built around this industrial complex retail business model,” Jaideep said.

“[But] there’s no space to expand the roads and in a lot of cities right now there’s no money to expand the roads. In many cities, air pollution is getting worse, the tax is getting higher, and unevenly distributed… For that the best solution hands down is micro-mobility. It’s meant for that hub and spoke sort of system. The beauty of it is that micro-mobility plus public transit is like magic.”