In the summer of 2018, start-up companies Lime and Bird flooded the streets of my hometown of Dallas with their electric scooters, which were followed by Razor scooters in the fall. Lime brands itself as “Smart Mobility for the Modern World,” and its Web site says that the company “is founded on the simple idea that all communities deserve access to smart, affordable mobility” with the ultimate aim “to reduce dependence on personal automobiles for short-distance transportation and leave future generations with a cleaner, healthier planet.” Bird espouses similar beliefs: “Bird shares a mission with cities to reduce traffic congestion and carbon emissions by providing people with a safe, affordable, and environmentally friendly alternative to cars. Together, we can create a more livable city for our communities.”
Lime’s and Bird’s aims mirror many of their users’ desires for cities with cleaner air, safer streets and less traffic. But when I saw a wheelchair user attempting to navigate around a Lime scooter that had been abandoned on its side in the middle of a sidewalk, I wondered: Who are we creating more livable cities for? When tech companies such as Lime claim they are “smart mobility for the modern world,” whose mobility are they talking about, and who will be included in this ever-changing, more technological modern world….
READ THE FULL ARTICLE: Before Cities Become Smart, They Must Become Accessible