ITE Journal - February 2020 - 49

"Right now we're developing a few more zones in the city;
so that there a minimum number [of vehicles] in those zones,"
she says. "The expectation is going to be that throughout that
the day... there are periodic check-ins to make sure rebalancing
is happening, to move the devices back out to our residential
neighborhoods, including the lower income neighborhoods in
Santa Monica."
Stefan notes that while many people think of Santa Monica
as an affluent city, it has its share of low-income populations
underserved by transportation. "Contrary to popular belief, we
actually have many residents who live on lower incomes or fixed
incomes and we want to make sure they are also served well by the
services," she says.
In terms of equity, the new pilot program will also require
companies explain how they can continue to provide equitable
payment options for people living on lower incomes. "We found
that sign-ups for low income programs are really low, so we want to
hear what companies have to offer in terms of dedication to getting
people to sign up for low income programs, as well as making sure
that devices available in those neighborhoods," Stefan explains.
For example, Santa Monica will be looking into whether the
sign-ups for these programs are user-friendly and well-advertised.
"So, how much outreach are they doing; what kind of events are
they doing in those communities, how often; and what type of
participation are they getting?" she notes as some of the questions
being put to shared mobility vendors. "We're asking companies to
tell us what they're willing to offer as far as an equity program, and
how they can demonstrate success." Stefan says she's seen vendors
offer payment options via low-income programs residents are
already participating in, which helps remove one barrier to using
e-bikes and e-scooters.
In general, Stefan expresses concern that the cost of shared
mobility vehicles appears to be on the rise, and says it's crucial that
micromobility providers remain a viable transportation option in
terms of cost. "Without some change, at some point the cost of the
trip is going to become prohibitively high for someone to depend
upon it regularly," she says. "I think we need to look seriously at
subscription models or some other model to bring the price per
ride down." She says the industry is getting to a point where the
price per ride is teetering on being equal to taking a car, which is
"not what we want," she notes. "The rates need to continue to be
lower than riding in a shared car or being in a car in general."

Conclusion
Regardless of equity efforts made by cities and micromobility
providers, making transportation equitable for all is a complex
issue. There must be a conscious effort to utilize partnerships and
thoughtfully analyze data to ensure transportation professionals
are getting it right.

Stefan says educating end-users is a great place to encourage
shared mobility adoption. "We have to continue to expand the
opportunities for people to travel in new ways, and to help them
become more comfortable in the street in many different modes,"
Stefan notes. "I think the vendors could play a role in helping all
people, especially in disadvantaged communities, feel that this
is the device they can use; having examples of friends, family,
and trusted leaders showing that the devices are part of a real
transportation option."
Hughes echoes this sentiment. "The people who feel really
comfortable cycling on any type of road, they tend to be around 20
years-old, and male. A big part of getting more diversity in people
who are cycling and using other modes is making infrastructure
that makes people of all abilities and all ages feel comfortable." itej

References
1. The Micro-Mobility Revolution: The Introduction and Adoption of Electric
Scooters in the United States, Populus, July 2018. https://research.
populus.ai/reports/Populus_MicroMobility_2018_Jul.pdf
2. Lazo, Luz. "Jump, Lyft, Skip and Spin win bids to deploy up to
10,000 scooters in D.C." The Washington Post, December 3, 2019.
[accessed January 15, 2020] https://www.washingtonpost.com/
transportation/2019/12/03/jump-lyft-skip-spin-win-bids-deploy-upscooters-dc/ [Accessed January 15, 2020]
3. Plitt, Amy. "Citi Bike fails to serve New Yorkers in poverty and
communities of color: report," Curbed New York, July 10, 2019. https://
ny.curbed.com/2019/7/10/20689177/citi-bike-equity-expansion-report
[Accessed January 15, 2020]
4. Clewlow, Regina. "DC is growing its dockless bike and scooter program:
We partnered with them to evaluate how it's expanding access in
underserved communities." Medium, November 15, 2018. https://
medium.com/populus-ai/measuring-equity-dockless-27c40af259f8
[Accessed January 15, 2020]

Holly Gilbert Stowell is senior editor and writer at
ITE Journal. She has a master's in journalism from
the NYU Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and a
bachelor's in English from Transylvania University in
Lexington, KY, USA. She previously worked as an
associate editor at ASIS International, the world's largest trade
association for security professionals, where she hosted and
produced the award-winning podcast Security Management
Highlights, and wrote feature articles and departments for trade
magazine Security Management. She has won more than 10
awards at the regional and national level from the Association for
Business Publication Editors, and an APEX Award for Publication
Excellence. She is a member of ACES: The Society for Editing.

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https://research.populus.ai/reports/Populus_MicroMobility_2018_Jul.pdf https://research.populus.ai/reports/Populus_MicroMobility_2018_Jul.pdf https://www.washingtonpost.com/transportation/2019/12/03/jump-lyft-skip-spin-win-bids-deploy-up-scooters-dc/ https://www.washingtonpost.com/transportation/2019/12/03/jump-lyft-skip-spin-win-bids-deploy-up-scooters-dc/ https://www.washingtonpost.com/transportation/2019/12/03/jump-lyft-skip-spin-win-bids-deploy-up-scooters-dc/ http://ny.curbed.com/2019/7/10/20689177/citi-bike-equity-expansion-report http://ny.curbed.com/2019/7/10/20689177/citi-bike-equity-expansion-report https://www.medium.com/populus-ai/measuring-equity-dockless-27c40af259f8 https://www.medium.com/populus-ai/measuring-equity-dockless-27c40af259f8 http://www.ite.org

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