Micromobility explores the disruption to urban transport that comes from new electric, lightweight utility vehicles. Using the history of computing as a framework, we unpack how e-bikes, scooters and more will change how people get around cities.



episode 72: Micromobility, pricing, politics and Friedrich Hayek

Horace and Oliver have a great discussion on the philosophical underpinnings of price signals going back to Freidrich Hayek and how price works to coordinate activity in society.

They discuss how micromobility suffers from market manipulation for its infrastructure and manufacturing and how road space allocation is currently misaligned to how it’s valued as real estate.

It’s Horace at his best - philosophical, paring theory to reality, and giving us all new frameworks to think about how the world works and will change.

Specifically, they dig into:

- The concept of using price signals to allocate resources in society proposed by Freidrich Hayek, where that came from as a concept, where it has been applied (free market vs. centrally planned economies), and why it’s interesting in the context of oil prices.

- Why black/grey markets exist everywhere

- Where it has and hasn’t used for road space allocation, and why that matters

- What the impact on micromobility would be if road space could be more effectively priced.

- Why minimum car parking is an unpriced externality, and how it came to be.

- The geostrategic investment in the auto sector coming out of WW2, and why that has had an impact on city infrastructure

- Sunk cost fallacies and the choice of what we continue to invest in in society.

- Why clear price signals for real estate used for infrastructure would accelerate the adoption of micromobility.

- A discussion about the use of economics in urban planning, including a short discussion of the excellent book Order without Design by Alain Bertaud.

Thanks also to our sponsor for the episode, Populus.ai. Populus are building digital tools that assist government agencies to manage their curbs, streets and sidewalks with access to intelligent data and analytics tools. Last week, they announced their Open Streets Initiative to provide cities with digital solutions to identify and communicate slow and safe street policies. Oakland, California recently announced that 74 miles of streets would be closed to through vehicle traffic in order to make it safer for pedestrians, and small sustainable modes to travel for essential trips and create more room for social distancing. Populus works with cities around the world, from Buenos Aires to Baltimore - to help build trust between operators and regulators to see shared mobility become the big success that we think it can be. They run webinars and produce some of the best editorial content about the impact of micromobility on cities in the US that we’ve seen - if you’re looking to educate yourself better on the space, and/or are looking for tools to build trust with your local government to help take shared micromobility to the next level, check them out.


 2020-05-14  52m