Towards an urban system embracing small, micro, and collective, macro modes?

The contribution of e-scooters to a virtuous.

Dylan MOINSE. June 2021


“[…] micromobility meets new needs that go beyond the individual vehicle or traditional public transport. It is a popular success, having
demonstrated its practicality and flexibility. […] Electric, light, and turning their users into real ‘augmented’ pedestrians, [e-scooters] carry a whole futuristic and, by association of ideas, eco-responsible and sustainable of the city.” [translated]

-Nicolas Boffi, Extrait de l’étude portant sur l’impact environnemental des trottinettes électriques. Étude de cas dans le contexte parisien (2019)

In many cities around the world, e-scooters have emerged as a new means of transportation, making their mark on the mobility landcape. Contemporary societies, described as “Liquid Modernity” (Bauman, 2000), privilege values related to movement and flexibility associated with individual freedom (Falabrègues, 2014). It is through the notion of the network of human interactions (Philosophie, science et société, 2017) that micromobility has been able to emerge (Mathew et al., 2019).

These electric vehicles embody a form of movement applied to “transmodality” (Amar, 2016), i.e. benefiting both from a hybridisation of the advantages (see table 1) provided by automobility (Grimal, 2015), the car and those provided by altermobility (McLaren, 2016), public transport. Those are small, light, single-user, cost-effective alternative transportation options for short distances (Mckenzie, 2019), and are considered sustainable (Abduljabbar, 2021).

The freedom of movement symbolised by the private e-scooter is not new, since the petrol-powered Autoped model of the 1920s, the “true ancestor of the e-scooter”(MaTrott’, 2019), represented a mode of leisure open to women (Hemmings, 2011). This sense of freedom leads to the notion of the “augmented pedestrian” in that it is easy to get on and off (Schultz and Grisot, 2019).