Micromobility and Culture

15 May 2019
15 May 2019
2 min read

Micromobility scooter operators, acting first and asking questions later, went where they could get away with it. That, paradoxically, was the U.S. California in particular.

With the idea taking root, much confusion followed: Should this idea be banned? Should it be controlled? Does the idea shed light on other inequities?

These are all cultural questions, and fundamentally, transportation and culture are deeply linked. What micromobility has done, at least, in its short existence, is throw light on our invisible assumptions about transportation. On car dependency. On parking subsidies. On vast over-service of automobility. On bundling of trips in one big metal box.

But didn’t the smartphone do just the same thing? On communications, entertainment and social constructs? And before that the personal computer?

The essential quality of a transformative technology is that it shows us who we are. It is a mirror and a lens.

So the answers to these questions will come from cultural norms. From individual decisions and institutional decisions. The degree and speed of adoption will be moderated.

But the resulting outcome is not in doubt for me. It just makes too much sense and the idea is too good. The users are too satisfied and the alternatives are too unbearable.”

From The Three Eras of Micromobility: Part 2, Cultural Contrasts

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