Preprint Article Version 2 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Conceptualising Micromobility: The Multi-Dimensional and Socio-Technical Perspective

Version 1 : Received: 25 September 2022 / Approved: 26 September 2022 / Online: 26 September 2022 (08:51:42 CEST)
Version 2 : Received: 27 June 2023 / Approved: 27 June 2023 / Online: 28 June 2023 (02:20:07 CEST)

How to cite: Behrendt, F.; Heinen, E.; Brand, C.; Cairns, S.; Anable, J.; Azzouz, L.; Glachant, C. Conceptualising Micromobility: The Multi-Dimensional and Socio-Technical Perspective. Preprints 2022, 2022090386. Behrendt, F.; Heinen, E.; Brand, C.; Cairns, S.; Anable, J.; Azzouz, L.; Glachant, C. Conceptualising Micromobility: The Multi-Dimensional and Socio-Technical Perspective. Preprints 2022, 2022090386.


Micromobility has gained attention from policymakers, industry stakeholders, and academia; however, a comprehensive conceptualization of micromobility is still missing. Existing definitions are largely vehicle-centric: either listing modes or detailing vehicle characteristics. This paper addresses this gap by developing a ‘beyond vehicles’, multi-dimensional conceptualization of micromobility, accompanied by a novel socio-technical definition. Through a review of related concepts, combined with an analysis of the use and definitions of the term micromobility in publications, this study establishes a new conceptualization of micromobility. It incorporates human, social, and cultural dimensions, considers environmental, economic, infrastructure, vehicle technology, regulatory and policy aspects, and considerations for public health. Our definition of micromobility encompasses a wide range of mobility options typically used for shorter trips and manoeuvrable by an individual without motor assistance, at least for short distances. These modes are characterized by their ‘micro’ attributes, including low energy demand, environmental impact, and road space use relative to automobility. The conceptualization incorporates a range of micromobility modes, including fully human-powered (including walking), partially motor-assisted, and fully powered options. These modes typically operate at speeds not exceeding 25 to 32 kilometres per hour (or 45 km/h for faster options), weigh (typically substantially) below 350 kilograms and often yield significant (public) health benefits. Trip length is generally less than 15 kilometres, and daily distances under 80 kilometres. Importantly, our definition includes the practices, policies, cultures, and infrastructures that emerge around the use of micromobility options and shape their uptake. This proposed conceptualization significantly broadens the prevailing vehicle-focus in micromobility debates towards a socio-technical perspective. Embracing a widely accepted conceptualisation of micromobility would offer several advantages, including robust design standards, legislation, and evaluation metrics and methods. Additionally, this paper highlights the pivotal role micromobilities can play in transcending the limitations of automobility, towards more sustainable and equitable mobility futures.


micromobility; sustainable transport; electric vehicles; active travel; LEV; so-cio-technical analysis


Engineering, Transportation Science and Technology

Comments (1)

Comment 1
Received: 28 June 2023
Commenter: labib azzouz
Commenter's Conflict of Interests: Author
Comment: We have extensively revised the paper in accordance with the first round of comments and requests for revision received from a peer-review journal. 
Improvements include updating the introduction, adding more studies to our analysis, updating relevant tables, and most importantly the definition of the term micromobility.
+ Respond to this comment

We encourage comments and feedback from a broad range of readers. See criteria for comments and our Diversity statement.

Leave a public comment
Send a private comment to the author(s)
* All users must log in before leaving a comment
Views 0
Downloads 0
Comments 1
Metrics 0

Notify me about updates to this article or when a peer-reviewed version is published.
We use cookies on our website to ensure you get the best experience.
Read more about our cookies here.