Product release: a Policy API Sandbox for London e-scooter tender

Product release: a Policy API Sandbox for London e-scooter tender

A few weeks ago, Transport for London (TfL) announced its much awaited tender competition for e-scooter trial in London, which will lead to the selection of up to 3 Operators announced in spring 2021 and running for a term of up to 12 months divided into 13 consecutive Trial Periods (TP).

According to TfL, the e-scooter trial is part of a wider goal to enable Londoners to use greener forms of transport and to avoid a car-led recovery from coronavirus, which it believes could make air quality worse and increase congestion. Looking at the tender documentation, selection will be fierce. Operators are assessed on their ability to meet strict safety requirements and operating standards, as well as their capacity to provide data for TfL and all London Boroughs that will be participating in the trial.

A Sandbox for Micro-mobility Operators

In order to support Operators in this challenging process, Vianova has developed a Policy Sandbox to allow Operators to test the MDS Policy API for the London tender, as well as future ones. Easily visualising MDS Policies is valuable as cities and transport authorities are increasingly asking for MDS format and the ability to ingest digital regulations.

Our Policy Sandbox, available here in open access, has already been shared with several Operators, and contains the following regulations:

  • “Go-slow Zone” policies, e.g. pedestrian zones, etc.
  • “No-go Zone” policies, e.g. parks, non-participating boroughs, etc.
  • “Cap on fleet size” policies, e.g. permitted/maximum fleet size, etc.
  • “Floor on fleet size” policies, e.g. minimum vehicle requirement, etc.
  • “No-parking” policies, e.g. ride-through boroughs, etc.

We are confident our Policy Sandbox will help Operators fine-tune their approach and methodology to ensure compliance with the e-scooter tender specifications. We will also add the implementation of a network of mobility hubs (being deployed in most cities), and keep it updated with new use cases that we see across our partner cities.

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We have built our Policy Sandbox, mainly relying on the information available from the official tender documentation, and with a focus on the specifications below.

Trial Area

The map below identifies the 11 Boroughs that are likely to be Participating Boroughs from TP 1, while Operators are required to confirm they can deliver e-scooters to at least 11 “full-service” Boroughs from Day 1 of TP 1.

1_7rFNt82IdnIhjCh-U_kaxQ.png
Map of the 11 London Boroughs that are likely to be participating from TP Day 1 of Trial Period 1

Other Boroughs have expressed interest in joining the trial at a point later than Trial Period 1. The maximum potential coverage of this Trial would then be 32 London Boroughs and the City of London, potentially also including private land sites by agreement, e.g. Canary Wharf.

  • Full service Boroughs permit complete usage for all e-scooters, including parking, riding and renting;
  • Ride-through Boroughs permit e-scooter riding within its borders, but not parking;
  • E-scooters cannot be used in Non-participating Boroughs.

Service Level Agreement

TfL and Participating Boroughs will arrange service level agreements with the Operators ahead of the Trial, notably setting objectives in terms of fleet sizes in any Full-service Borough, as well as across the whole Trial Area.

Permitted Fleet Size

  • On TP Day 1 and throughout Trial Period 1, each Operator’s Permitted Fleet Size for the Trial Area as a whole shall be 50 e-scooters multiplied by the number of Full-service Boroughs, thus a Permitted Fleet Size of up to 550 e-scooters for each Operator across the whole Trial Area.
  • Minimum Vehicle Requirement

  • Each Operator must also ensure a minimum number of e-scooters are deployed in each Full-service Borough. The frequency of this deployment for Trial Period 1 shall be daily and at the start of each TP Day (7AM). For Trial Period 1, the default Minimum Vehicle Requirement shall be 20 e-scooters per Operator per Full-service Borough.
  • 1_vwvXNv1IkkBud8OUC7YtXQ.png
    Example starting fleets for Trial Period 1

    Maximum Fleet Size across the Trial Area

    • The Trial will begin with low numbers of e-scooters, and the actual number of e-scooters in an Operator’s fleet over the course of the Trial will evolve according to various factors. It will be reviewed every 4 weeks and the total number of e-scooters (all Operators combined) present within Greater London shall not exceed 19,800 at any point during the Trial.

    Parking, No-go and Go-slow Zones

    A participating borough will control the parking location for its batch of e-scooters to protect against street clutter and can designate “no-go” areas or “slow-go” zones where the speed will be limited to 8mph through geofencing technology.

    • It will be the responsibility of the Full-service Borough and/or TfL to designate parking for e-scooters throughout the Trial. E-scooters must only be deployed by Operators or parked by Users in designated parking areas.
    • In addition to the DfT’s requirement of ensuring e-scooters are not ridden on pavements and other areas solely for pedestrians, the Operator should also prohibit the use of these e-scooters on high speed roads or other roads, where bikes are prohibited (e.g. the A2, Blackwall Tunnel) by applying geo-fenced restrictions on these roads and areas.

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    Please get in touch with us at hello@vianova.io if you’d like to learn more about this product, or feel free to chat with us on our website Vianova — we’d love to hear from you.

    Also, if you are interested to read more about our recent mobility Policy work, feel free to have a look at our European Policy Guidelines on Shared Micro-Mobility or contact us at cicero@vianova.io.