Here’s a chart that caught my eye, from a post on Why Is This Interesting about micromobility. First let’s look at the chart, which, with its log-scale and comprehensive scope, is the kind of chart that makes me excited about charts.
Check it out:
(See also these other great comprehensive charts: Operating Speeds by Mode by Time, Energy Intensity of Passenger Modes, Energy Density v. Area Required, and (my favorite) Travel Efficiency by Species.)
Noah Brier talks about how micromobility, specifically meaning e-scooters and e-bikes, fill in a lot of the gaps between walking and cars. (They are just like bicycles in this regard.) Here’s the key point:
When you look at the average distance of trips across different modes of transport it’s clear where the gap is: trips that are long enough to be an annoying walk and short enough to feel like a waste of a car ride. That distance is doable with a regular bike, but if there’s a hill you may be huffing and sweating by the end. The e-bike takes all that away, giving you just enough power to make an otherwise intimidating climb into, at worst, a few aggressive pedals.
Given how regular pedal bicycles, while being extremely efficient, have not made great gains in mode-share in the US as of yet, anything that can begin to “fill in” some of that demand without resorting to inefficient and dangerous car travel seems like a great idea.