It’s been a big week for the micromobility sector in the UK. Following the Queen’s Speech announcing a new Transport Bill on Tuesday, Baroness Vere confirmed on Wednesday that the Bill would include private e-scooters in a new category of electric vehicle, making them legal to ride in the UK for the first time.
On the same day the international team behind the eSkootr Championship announced the creation of a new Commission for Micromobility and Sport. Based on a similar model to the FIA and FIM, the Commission would not only regulate this exciting new form of micromobility racing, it would also advocate for safer, more sustainable and more accessible new forms of mobility in the real world.
Fast forward to the New Mobility Forum in London today, timed to coincide with the inaugural eSkootr Championship race weekend. It’s the first Commission-led initiative which brings together policy makers and industry leaders to debate the challenges and opportunities on the road ahead for this multi-billion pound and fast growing industry. The Commission has used the event to announce a major policy programme, the MicroMobility Assessment Partnership or MMAP.
The MMAP is a consumer rating scheme initially targeted at owned and shared e-scooters, but with scope to expand to other micromobility products and services such as e-bikes. The MMAP is set to provide consumers and city authorities with an independent source of information on comparative safety and sustainability performance, potentially beyond the minimum requirements of legislation.
The MMAP brings together an impressive team. The Commission includes some of the motorsport experts behind key F1 safety developments such as the Halo, and the UK’s much respected Transport Research Laboratory, which was a founding member of the European New Car Assessment Programme. Although no crash testing has been detailed yet, the echoes of NCAP are obvious to see in the consumer rating approach being taken and it’s no coincidence that the emphasis will be on safe system, Vision Zero criteria.
The TRL’s Richard Cuerden presented an overview of the MMAP to Forum delegates as a precursor to a wider consultation and partnership build with industry and policy makers.
“What the MMAP gives you is a way for all the different stakeholders to report into what ‘good’ looks like in terms of how we measure safety, how we measure sustainability and how we measure social responsibility,” says Cuerden. “And once that’s agreed, to have a standardised way then to measure that across the piece, so we can build in the best standards for the industry to ensure its success in the future.”
eSC Co-Founder Alex Wurz commented: “We are super excited with the MMAP because it is a perfect tool to assess and validate excellence. We as consumers are all aware of the star rating with Global NCAP which has saved thousands of lives. Micromobility being a new form of transport, I am certain that the MMAP is a key tool for everyone involved to better our products and sector as a whole.”
It’s a fascinating moment to launch such a programme with its relevance to national and city authorities as well as individual consumers. Euro NCAP and Global NCAP have been widely recognised as catalysts for auto safety improvements. Zag Daily will monitor industry reaction with interest.