shared mobility

Providence, RI Enables Better Scooter Regulation to Uphold the Public Interest

Providence, RI

Riding electric scooter

Population

180,000

Agency Type

City

Annual Budget

$770 Million

Region

Northeast

Solution

Remix Shared Mobility

About Providence, RI

Providence is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Rhode Island and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The city is the third most populous city in New England after Boston and Worcester, Massachusetts. The Providence city limits enclose a small geographical region with a total area of 20.5 square miles. The main campuses of five of Rhode Island’s colleges and universities are located in Providence (city proper).

Challenge

The City of Providence was challenged with finding a way to manage their scooter program efficiently. They lacked capacity to manually spot-check compliance and juggled disparate data sources, and they struggled without a tool to perform important data analysis to drive valuable insights.

Solution

Providence partnered with Remix to leverage their shared mobility platform, enabling one single source of truth for scooter data. This gave them the ability to derive actionable insights to drive better regulation for the public good.

Results

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Enabled better regulation and policy enforcement to uphold the public interest

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Streamlined communications with providers

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Increased valuable data insights

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Gained efficiencies on data collection process to reallocate time towards strategic conversations

What were the challenges you faced prior to having new technology to manage your shared mobility program?

We launched our micro-mobility program with our bicycle share program in September 2018 and our scooter pilot program in October 2018. We required robust data from the providers in order to manage a successful program. We would check provider dashboards and spot-check their apps, but we did not have the internal IT capacity to create our own dashboards to process Mobility Data Specifications (MDS). Therefore, we were looking for partners to help us with that important component while we continued to use as much best practice guidance as possible. 

We needed one holistic and accurate source of data.  


photo of bikes
Scooters on the streets of Providence

Why did you select Remix?

A significant decision factor in choosing Remix was their reputation in the industry. We were familiar with the Remix brand through their Transit solution, which was being utilized by our local transit agency, RIPTA. We felt it was an impressive tool and therefore thought highly of Remix. In addition, we selected Remix due to the polished user interface and the abundance of features offered by the mobility platform.


How is technology allowing you to better regulate your shared mobility program?

Remix allows us to use quantitative metrics to hold mobility providers accountable. For example, we prohibit scooters being available for rentals after dark. Remix has been invaluable in identifying the times of day that trips are beginning and the percentage of trips that occurred after dark. This is critical for compliance. Without the ability to query a provider’s MDS feeds, we wouldn’t be able to operate the same program that we have today. 

In addition, we have built into our program an on-going, bi-monthly evaluation on quantitative metrics, and we’ll be pulling data from Remix for those evaluations. In our scooter pilot, we discovered that the intentions of mobility providers are not always implemented. For example, with equitable distribution, our regulations from the outset specified minimum and maximum fleet percentages for different parts of the city. When we issued the initial permits as part of the pilot, both of the operators agreed to those regulations and committed to upholding them. However, Remix allowed us to see the date indicating that was not happening. Regulating providers and upholding the public interest depends on on-going evaluation, and we are now able to ensure that’s happening effectively.


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A sample image from the city's workflow (illustrative data only)

What additional benefits are you seeing through usage of your shared mobility platform?

With Remix, we’ve been able to reduce the amount of back-and-forth communications with providers due to the easy access to data in one streamlined place. Moreover, we simply wouldn’t have as many data insights without the Remix tool.

Remix also allows a small city like Providence to have a program on the same level of sophistication as a big city. When we speak with other smaller cities, they often comment that they don’t have certain data points that we have access to. 

In addition, we derive a lot of value from Remix’s team of policy experts. They have connections in the industry that we’re able to leverage, and they open doors to opportunities that we otherwise might not have such as speaking on an expert panel on Capitol Hill about mobility data. Remix’s policy team supported us when we were re-doing our regulations-- they provided valuable feedback to inform our policies. In short, we would have a fundamentally different program today if we didn’t have Remix. 

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Before we had Remix to manage our scooter program, we didn’t have full visibility into what was happening with the providers. Remix has allowed us to have a completely different data program.

Alex Ellis

Principal Planner, City of Providence, RI

What is it like working with the Remix team?

One of the biggest value-adds of Remix is their attentive and personable team. They have been very flexible and available to help with some of the more complex questions that arise. We are very impressed with the Remix team-- each and every person we work with there-- and we would not be able to have a data-driven scooter program without them.

Do you feel you are helping to shape the future of shared mobility technology?

Definitely. We feel like our feedback and input is valued by the Remix team as they regularly request our product input. That’s proof that Remix is interested in what we think even though they work with bigger cities than us. 

What are you excited about now that you have the technology to support initiatives? 

For this next year of our scooter program, we’re looking forward to having bi-monthly, data-driven evaluations of providers. We’ll be working with Remix to put together a dashboard to help us identify some of those data points. 

Some cities are planning for drones and autonomous vehicle, and we’re aware of that space, too, but we’ll be primarily focused on optimizing the use of the public realms that we’re seeing now like infrastructure improvements and curbside management policies.

Lastly, we’re really looking forward to having Uber data available in Remix. Up until now, we’ve received data from Jump through monthly reports that specify the average monthly fleet availability, the daily number of trips, and a couple other key metrics. GBFS does not provide as much useful data as MDS, and we’ve had to make requests of Jump for other specific data. Remix is going to consolidate all of that process into one dashboard which will make it so much easier. We will not need to send literally a dozen emails to our contacts relentlessly asking for data exports. It will be a win-win for all.

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