Rethinking Mobility: insights from our micromobility workshop

Our recent workshop, “The Way We Move,” held on March 27th at the FoEM Green Resource Center, sparked a lively discussion on the future of the transport system and micromobility in Malta. Micromobility includes small human or electric powered mobility devices suitable for short urban trips, such as bicycles and scooters. Increased uptake of micromobility is a key tool to reduce carbon emissions from transport. 

Bringing together individuals from various backgrounds, we delved into the needs, challenges, and opportunities for micromobility users in Malta.  We had truly diverse perspectives represented at the workshop, from pedestrians to cyclists, wheelchair users to car owners, representatives of micromobility rental operators, activists, and simply interested citizens.

To structure our dialogue, we used the “Six Thinking Hats” method developed by Dr. Edward De Bono. This technique engaged participants to approach the topic from different angles and assume various roles for the following questions:
How to promote micromobility?
How to promote road safety?
How to shift people from private car use to micromobility?  

When wearing the white hat, the focus was on presenting facts, data, and information, whereas the yellow hat, representing optimism, prompted discussions about potential benefits and opportunities. The black hat encouraged caution and skepticism, inviting participants to consider potential pitfalls with the question, “What can go wrong?”. The red hat encouraged participants to express their feelings and emotions. The green hat symbolized and activated creativity, welcoming all ideas and particularly solutions to address concerns raised by the black hat. Lastly, the blue hat guided participants to thinking process, planning and the process.

The insights from the group discussions were summarised into findings relevant for different stakeholders: policy makers, micromobility users and other road users, which will be used for further steps in the project, including a white paper on how to promote and encourage micromobility for policy makers. Here are just a few highlights:

  • The health benefits of micromobility: apart from physical benefits, micromobility contributes to mental well-being by reducing stress and wasted time in traffic. With a micromobility vehicle, it is easier to plan time and stay calm. 
  • Prioritizing pedestrians: Shifting our focus from car-centric planning to pedestrian-friendly infrastructure not only benefits walkers but also parents with strollers, seniors, and individuals with mobility challenges. Have you ever thought that having so small pavements, when we put trash bags outside, people with strollers or wheelchairs can’t use the pavement at all?
  • Considering water transport: small boats in Malta may be considered as micromobility vehicles. Local context is crucial in understanding micromobility.  

We will organise more workshops, such as road safety training, repair cafes and training on micromobility for planners and professionals. Stay tuned for updates by following the news of the MICROMOBI project.

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