The Disruptive Power of ‘Minimobility’

Small, lightweight vehicles similar to golf carts could eliminate many Americans’ need for a second car and make roads safer for all users.

Read Time: 1 minute

November 9, 2022, 6:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Line of golf carts parked on street in The Villages, Florida

Jillian Cain Photography / Golf carts in The Villages, Florida

Writing in Fast Company, David Zipper highlights the disruptive potential of 'minimobility'—a variation on the more well-known micromobility—in particular, an emerging class of tiny vehicles modeled on golf carts. “While bikes and scooters have been around for well over a century, the addition of small electric batteries has been a revelation, letting riders comfortably handle steep hills and muggy weather (e-cargo bikes are especially helpful when lugging groceries or children).” Meanwhile, smaller, lighter vehicles pose less danger to pedestrians in collisions and produce fewer emissions for building and charging than larger electric cars.

As American cars get bigger and more expensive, small, efficient vehicles could become increasingly attractive to buyers. “Consumer preferences are already showing signs of shifting. In the U.S., more e-bikes are now sold than electric cars,” Zipper points out. “Golf carts—already ubiquitous in suburban enclaves like The Villages, Florida, and Peachtree City, Georgia—are popping up in places like Scottsdale, Arizona, and downtown Tampa.”

Zipper notes that the biggest obstacle to more widespread adoption is America’s tradition of car-centric development and road design, but that the tide is slowly turning in favor of multimodal infrastructure. “The prospect of a rapid shift toward small vehicles should be keeping auto executives awake at night. But from a societal perspective, it could be a dream come true.”

Wednesday, November 2, 2022 in Fast Company

Green bike lane with flexible delineators and textures paint in Hoboken, New Jersey

America’s Best New Bike Lanes

PeopleForBikes highlights some of the most exciting new bike infrastructure projects completed in 2022.

January 31, 2023 - PeopleforBikes

Aerial view of MBTA commuter rail station in Concord, Massachusetts among green trees

Massachusetts Zoning Reform Law Reaches First Deadline

Cities and towns had until January 31 to submit their draft plans for rezoning areas near transit stations to comply with a new state law.

February 1, 2023 - Streetsblog Mass

Green alley under construction

Green Alleys: A New Paradigm for Stormwater Management

Rather than shuttling stormwater away from the city and into the ocean as quickly as possible, Los Angeles is now—slowly—moving toward a ‘city-as-sponge’ approach that would capture and reclaim more water to recharge crucial reservoirs.

February 2, 2023 - Curbed

Washington

Washington Could Legalize Single-Staircase Buildings

Supporters of ‘point access blocks,’ which are common in Europe and other parts of the world, say the design maximizes living space and lowers the cost of construction.

39 minutes ago - The Urbanist

View of downtown San Francisco from top of windy street at sunset with Coit Tower in distance

San Francisco Housing Plan Gets State Approval

The city cleared a major hurdle as its housing plan, which paves the way for 82,000 new homes by 2030, is certified by the state.

1 hour ago - KALW

Green Line, Los Angeles

Rail Transit Plans Would Connect L.A.’s South Bay to the Regional Rail System

Two new transit extensions promise several new routes for South Bay residents to access the Los Angeles region’s transit system.

2 hours ago - The Source

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.