Define urban mobility and PMDAs

As we shall see, urban mobility and MPETs are possible alternatives to the car. But we need to understand what urban mobility and MPET are in order to understand their synergy.

First, we will examine what urban mobility is and its ramifications in terms of impact on users and decision makers. Then, we will see that MPDAs and PDAs have an important role to play in the mobility of a population. We will see how they are essential to the redesign of traffic patterns in a city or agglomeration, for example.

It is by defining such notions that it is possible to grasp the complex, but necessary, understanding of urban mobility in its entirety.

Mobilité urbaine et EDPM : définition-1

Urban mobility is shaped by the specific use of each user

Urban mobility concerns the study, reflection, redesign, implementation and monitoring of actions aimed at harmonizing all flows of people and goods on the scale of an urban area.

Who is concerned?

This includes public transport, transport in motorized personal vehicles such as cars, pedestrians, cyclists, scooters and other motorized or non-motorized vehicles, trucks and goods vehicles, etc. Any movement within the defined area is likely to be part of urban mobility. Speed is not a criterion that includes or excludes the object used for traffic.

What infrastructure is part of this mobility?

All transportinfrastructures (roads, sidewalks, bicycle paths, tramway, metro or bus lines, etc.) on which users travel are included in an urban mobility study. In France, as in many other countries, a large number of infrastructures are concerned. Atypically, if we think outside of France, cities like Venice also include canals and landing terminals in their travel and mobility studies.

What geographical scale is used?

The urban dimension is very important, because it intrinsically specifies that the density of users is high. It can be a city, an agglomeration, a district, etc. It is up to the mobility study's initiators to determine the area to be studied according to the users' movements.

What framework and regulations?

The mobility plan (PDM) follows on from the urban travel plan (PDU) as defined by article L.1214-1 and following of the transport code. Combined with the company travel plan (PDE), it becomes a political issue for elected decision-makers and enables the legislator to harmonize the law and the rules in the service of people's travel.

In conclusion, urban mobility brings together elected officials, public authorities and professionals to address travel issues in a defined urban area. This can take the form of, for example

  • a study on the implementation of a new public transport line
  • the development of a road that can accommodate several types of vehicles (scooters, electric bikes or other motorized vehicles as well as pedestrians);
  • the reflection on new safety rules locally required for the well-being of users and other users;
  • etc.

Mobilité urbaine et EDPM : définition-2

Motorized personal mobility devices (MPMDs)

With the advent of new technologies and their orientation in thinking about new means of travel, motorized personal mobility devices have made their way into the urban mobility landscape. The acronym "MPT" brings together all the data necessary for a good definition of what they are.

An "E" for gear and a "D" for travel

Although not very descriptive, the term "gear" is used so as not to restrict the nomenclature of possibilities. It can therefore include, for example:

  • electric scooters;
  • motorized skateboards
  • motorized gyropods;
  • etc.

As we have understood, the "D" refers to the fact that the MPED is used to move an individual. If movement is not possible, then the device is excluded from the EDPM classification.

The device is intended for a single user (P) and is necessarily motorized (M)

The "P" indicates that the machine in question can only be used to transport one person. It can therefore not accommodate a driver and a passenger, which excludes electric scooters for example.

In order to belong to the category of EDPM, it is necessary that the machine has a motor (electric or not) to be able to move. Scooters or skateboards without a motor are therefore not to be classified as EDPM.

The importance of the EDPM classification

When the first motorized personal mobility devices arrived on the market, the law was not yet set up to include such devices or their use. They were therefore not defined in the sense of the law and the regulations, but they were nevertheless circulating on the usual road infrastructure, which they therefore shared with other users. Accidents occurred (first official accounting in 2019 with 10 fatalities in EDPM and an increasing increase over the years). The arrival of risky practices for EDPM users and other users, as shown in a famous video of electric scooter traffic on the Paris ring road at more than 80 km/h, was insistent, not to mention the high risks for pedestrians.

The legislator therefore had to react thanks to the decree 2019-1082 of October 23, 2019 and created the category of EDPM on this occasion to finally be able to give them a status, a framework and obligations as users of the road infrastructure of France:

  • the user must be over 12 years old ;
  • specific insurance is mandatory;
  • the maximum speed is 25 km/h ;
  • traffic is forbidden on sidewalks, with some exceptions
  • use of telephone, pedestrian kit, etc. is prohibited;
  • no driving outside built-up areas (except in exceptional cases);
  • No towing or pushing a load;
  • Wearing a high visibility vest is mandatory;
  • etc.

All of these rules make it possible to concretely define what a MPD is and to give it a status in order to better integrate it into urban mobility.

In conclusion, motorized personal transport devices (MPTs) now have a place recognized by law. This makes it possible to integrate them into discussions on urban mobility. Practical, space-saving and often non-emitting because they are electric, they have a role to play in the success of a successful urban mobility scheme.

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