The Transition of the Micro-Mobility landscape in Portugal

Twelve years ago, Lisbon was in dire straits. The 2008 financial crisis hit the Portuguese capital hard, and its citizens faced uncertainty, high unemployment, and decaying infrastructure. Bruising austerity program required by the EU, the IMF, and the European Central Bank were among the strict steps taken to get the country back on track. A changing landscape. Gaspar is working with Lisbon’s municipal transport company, Carris, to launch the new park, ride projects, and bus corridors and improve the number of Micro Mobility vehicles in use at the public transport system. 

With its planned acquisition of 420 buses and 25 trams by 2023 to the increasing demand, capacity is growing to a €252 million investment. Furthermore, the strategy is part of a target to shift 150,000 motorists to more sustainable modes of travel by 2030.

Environment Friendly Micro Mobility Vehicles

Gaspar said that one of the biggest challenges we face is our commitment to hitting carbon emissions targets by 2030, and added that it’s not a lot of time because ten years is like one day in city life and that time goes by very quickly.

This plan towards more eco-friendly modes of mobility has also seen Lisbon embrace micro-mobility. In particular, the e-scooter phenomenon is currently over 12,000 in the city operated by nine companies. Thus, it is unlikely to walk along its winding streets without encountering one. At the same time, public opinion will still sharply divided, with some seeing e-scooters as the perfect solution to city center journeys. In contrast, others may consider an unwelcome scourge on the streets.

In July last year, the district council for Santa Maria Maior oversaw much of the historic center and the neighboring areas, introducing fines of between €60 and €300 for those companies that rented scooters litter sidewalks and also public space. 

Also, the council further banned the parking of scooters on pavements and in most places that are known to obstruct vehicles on pavements. With this, a removal fee introduced to cover these companies.

Micro Mobility

Regulating the Usage of Electric Scooters

In a report by the Portuguese newspaper Publico. There was a regulation that extends to shared bicycles parked carelessly in public spaces. The Lisbon Municipal Police claimed that they had removed over 1,800 poorly parked scooters from February and June 2019, with charging fees of over €17,000.

Gaspar has been very optimistic that despite this. He says Lisbon’s attitude was based on engaging with the operators and not taking an overly strict approach.

While enabling the private sector to operate e-scooters, the city has also taken a more hands-on approach with other micro-mobility modes. Hence Uber’s Jump–and Hive–have launched bike-share schemes in the Portuguese capital. The municipal mobility company, Gira, which operates the lion’s share.

There are currently just over 450 shared-bikes operated by the city provider. Two-thirds of which are electric—an essential consideration when one looks at Lisbon’s cobbled streets and hilly terrain.

Gaspar also said that this engenders trust with private sector operators. They understand that they need to engage the city in a dialogue where both need to converge on their positions. He also explained that he is open to innovation in the city, emphasizing the two red lines of public safety and public space quality. He mentioned that we view new things through soft and hard regulation because we need to learn how to regulate it.

Looking at Other Cities for Inspiration

When searching for innovations and methods of getting results, the city has employed a relatively straightforward approach. In a statement from Gaspar, he believed that in Lisbon, any good idea is an idea that should copy. He added the list of some of the cities that have inspired Lisbon’s transformation. Porto, Barcelona, Copenhagen, London, and Los Angeles.

Lisbon was also inspired by Los Angeles to become the first city in Europe to adopt the Mobility Data Specification (MDS). Thus this provides a template for data sharing for dockless bike-shares providers e-scooters. As well as the shared-ride providers that work within the public right of way. After the launch in Los Angeles in September 2018, Gaspar saw its potential benefits and has adapted it to his city’s needs.

Gaspar said that all the e-scooter operators are sharing their data, and thus this improves the decision-making. However, he said that he started having conversations with Los Angeles and is sharing learned experience to improve it further.

As micro-mobility has been leading cities by storm, other discussions surrounding the future of mobility. The initiation of autonomous vehicles (AVs), and even flying taxis have also been increasingly controlling discussions in the transport circles.

Lisbon’s revival came from a back-to-basics approach that delivers citizens and visitors. Thus, the services they need to go about their daily business, and your city will thrive. 

He also mentioned that it is good to have someone speak about what the future holds. And asking what the ethical issues and technical challenges behind the introduction of AVs are. He urged that they cannot put all the effort into this. If there is no bus arriving on time like a subway to reach certain parts of the city or a transport on-demand.

Sustainable Mobility Pact

Last December 2019, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), Lisbon City Council, BCSD Portugal. And fifty-six leading companies confirmed the Corporate Mobility Pact (CMP). And have committed to over 200 mobility actions intended to make mobility more sustainable in Lisbon.

Fernando Medina, Mayor of Lisbon, said that the Carbonation presents itself as the greatest challenge of our generation. He said that there is a need to reduce emissions and make all types of transport more sustainable. Every day counts, and every action is essential, he added.

The signatories will adopt a set of measures that aim to help the city have a safer, accessible, greener, and more efficient mobility system. The pact seeks to promote supply and demand for multi-modal solutions. By creating conditions for employees to adopt new behaviors and solutions and extending these measures to suppliers and customers.

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