The fascinating geography of micro-mobility in England

by | Apr 16, 2021 | Articles

As micro-mobility continues to feature into discussions of general mobility post-pandemic the conversation is often about “when” and not “where,” partially because the where is often hard to visualize with so many companies attempting to enter into the space in so many places. This map from ZAG covering e-scooter trials in the UK is a great attempt at showing the where.

As someone who studied geography in college there’s so much here to understand even at a quick glance. First, the colors show the many companies involved (big, known entities like Lime and Bird as well as more regional startups like Ireland-based ZIPP).

Second, there’s the obvious map feature you look for in any map of the United Kingdom: How do Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales figure into this? They don’t. According to ZAG, there are none.

They’ve also cleverly shaded in metropolitan areas and you’ll notice that there’s no obvious correspondence between density and scooters. This leads to the biggest and most glaring feature of the map, which is the absence of trials in London. This isn’t a mistake as London has banned e-scooters within the city and is working on their own plan that’s been delayed.

This map runs contrary to my expectations, which is the best kind of map.