MBTA launches licensing pilot for micromobility devices

Posted on April 2, 2019

The initiative seeks to improve first- and last-mile connections, and decrease the number of short trips made by automobiles.
The initiative seeks to improve first- and last-mile connections, and decrease the number of short trips made by automobiles.Bird

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and the MBTA have launched a licensing pilot for mobility device companies seeking to place devices on MBTA property.

The pilot seeks to encourage and expand mobility options that help people get where they need to go and increase access to public transit for current and potential transit riders. As the region continues to experience the introduction of a variety of new devices like electric-assist bicycles, electric scooters, and more, the pilot establishes a process to ensure the MBTA can embrace mobility devices in a safe, orderly manner.

The process also includes restrictions on storage locations as well as a means of collecting data to inform future policy decisions related to devices.

The initiative seeks to improve first- and last-mile connections, and decrease the number of short trips made by automobiles. These are strategic needs that were identified in both the MBTA’s Focus40 Plan and MassDOT’s Statewide Bicycle Transportation Plan. The pilot also seeks to support the Commonwealth’s climate, congestion, mobility, and health goals.

“The MBTA looks forward to learning from riders and operators and understanding how shared mobility services can complement our service and improve the customer experience,” said MBTA GM Steve Poftak. “This pilot will allow us to assure that customer experience for MBTA riders will be enhanced by shared mobility services and provide data that will allow the MBTA to improve how it interacts with these providers.”

Existing data from Massachusetts and from across the country show shared mobility trips tend to start or end at transit stations. As such, the pilot application process includes a framework to identify areas where devices can be safely placed on T property that can best support our customers and municipal partners.

Applicants must provide detailed information about their companies’ plans regarding safety, parking, marketing and outreach, desired locations, equity, and relationship with the local municipality. Additionally, applicants must meet baseline requirements, including data sharing and insurance compliance to be eligible.

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