News from OkaiThe year 2020 is rapidly moving forward and we have almost reached the end. We’d like to remind you to place all orders for the spring 2021 season before December 20th. Due to the Christmas and New Year holidays in Europe, followed shortly by the Chinese New Year holidays, the lead time for orders might be longer than usual afterward. Also, for all orders placed before the end of November, we can offer special rates for the ES400/ES400A. In other news...
- The longer lead times for the EB100 are due to increasing demand. Make sure to order your next batch early.
- It's done! We finally received our ABE and got listed here.
- We are happy to announce that our well-known ES200 model will soon be available to end consumers
- President-elect Joe Biden’s transportation agenda calls for boosting transit and cycling, but some say it would also increase car dependency. In a historic milestone for urbanists, Biden will be the first US president to have campaigned on micromobility.
- Is the VisionFund seeing car-free cities in the future? Last week, Softbank made its first scooter bet, pumping $250 million into Berlin-based Tier Mobility, and led a $700 million investmentin ghost-kitchen startup/parking disruptor Reef.
- Meanwhile, Uber rival Bolt announced an aggressive $118 million investment in ride-sharing for electric scooters and bikes.
- The European Cyclist Federation has created an interactive leaderboardthat ranks cities by how many miles of bike lanes they’ve built or pledged to build during the pandemic.
- Japan’s first scooter trials are underway in Tokyo and Fukuoka, but local companies say the government is not doing enough to support them.
- A new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety finds that a majority of e-scooter injuries happen on the sidewalk; 40% happen on a first ride.
- The global ebike market is expected to reach $46 billion by 2026.
What we're reading🕒 Be there in 15
Will the utopian vision of 15-minute cities ever come true? Depends on who you ask and where you look. Led by Paris, many Europeans cities have successfully channeled rising concerns about pollution and congestion into a variety of policies that promote walkable and socially mixed communities. Meanwhile, American urban planners are having difficulty enacting similar measures. Portland’s efforts to shorten the average trip distance for people traveling to work or shopping, as well as Detroit’s attempt to reimagine one of its neighborhoods as a slightly less ambitious 20-minute city, have both been stymied by urban sprawl and car dependency—defining features of many American cities.
💯 The first 100 days
Here’s more detail on what the Biden administration could mean for transportation. Two of the president-elect’s top priorities will be to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stoke the economic recovery, both of which could involve significant infrastructure projects. As a fervent Amtrak supporter, Biden also plans to push for high-speed rail, while intervening more at the state and local level to help struggling public transportation agencies and boost cycling and walking. The catch is that, unless Democrats win control of the Senate in a pair of runoff elections in January, Biden will need a bipartisan deal on funding to pay for any of these programs.
🏍️ Revving and roaring
It’s not just bikes that are booming lately. From China to Brazil to the UK, the rise of food-delivery apps and commuters’ desire for social distance have sent sales of mopeds and motorcycles skyrocketing—but not everyone is thrilled. Generally speaking, when it comes to the health of cities, two wheels are better than four. Motorbikes ease congestion and (many would argue) pose a lower risk to pedestrians than cars. The problem is that most two-wheelers that are in production today are gas-powered, which fuels air and noise pollution. While it’s good to see more people embracing small vehicles, clearly electrification will be key.
🧠 Are smart cities really that smart?
In a new article for City Monitor, civic technologist Cyd Harrel raises some interesting questions about whether innovation is actually making cities any better. “Funders and, often, even department heads prefer to put money into fresh ideas and new capabilities, even when plagued by outdated and ineffective systems. There’s a stark mismatch between what residents, especially vulnerable ones, need and what the tech industry’s cutting-edge offerings provide.”
🚆 Mass transit, mass problems
Politico takes a hard look at the challenges facing mass transit systems around the world right now. The global narrative hasn’t changed much in recent months: ridership is still far lower than normal levels and budget shortfalls are forcing cities everywhere to choose between fare hikes and service cuts, both of which will sadly hurt low-income communities disproportionately. Zooming in on individual cities and countries, though, there have been a few new developments. Transit commuters have returned much faster in China than in North America or Europe, but even there, only by 80%; some European cities are asking residents to take multimodal routes, including scooters, bikes, and ride-hail, to avoid crowding on buses and trains; and overall Europe has been far more willing to subsidize transit’s losses than the US, but that may change as train-loving Joe Biden prepares to take office.
Words of the MonthGerman: Luftschloss
literally meaning “air-built castle,” or to create dreams, hopes, or plans that are impossible, unrealistic, or have very little chance of succeeding.
Chinese: jiā yóu 加油
Literally meaning “add oil” or “add fuel,” an expression used to cheer someone on.