Populus operated as data management platform for Chicago scooters

Chicago chose a transportation management company to oversee not only its new e-scooter program, but sidewalk management as well.

Populus, which collects and analyzes micromobility data, was selected as the data management platform for the Chicago scooter program. The city is also testing Populus sidewalk management technology.

“The City of Chicago is one of the key cities that are part of Populus’ Curb Innovation Cohort,” said Regina Clewlow, CEO of Populus. “Our platform enables cities to digitally share new sidewalk rules, bring in data from fleet operators, and use data-driven decision-making to allocate more space for commercial deliveries.”


In October of last year, Chicago moved forward with finalizing a policy allowing micromobility operators to add to the city’s rich array of transportation modes. Up to three scooter companies will be able to operate in the city, after selection through a competitive process. The scooters will share data with Populus’ Mobility Manager platform, which will also receive data from the city’s Divvy bike-sharing program.

Company officials point to Populus’ role on the Mobility Data Specification (MDS) Steering Committee and the Open Mobility Foundation, explaining why the company is uniquely qualified to lead the mobility management process. micromobility in one of the largest cities in the country.

“Our team has been instrumental in standardizing and supporting smart mobility policies,” Clewlow said.

Managing mobility data is a unique new role for cities, as they turn to it for planning and decision-making. And micromobility systems that operate more efficiently and serve more users can help reduce car trips and advance sustainability goals, observers say.

The problem is often framed as “Americans prefer to drive,” said Peter Norton, a University of Virginia history professor and author of the book. Autonorama: the illusory promise of high-tech driving.

“It’s absolute nonsense,” he added, speaking at the 2022 National Shared Mobility Summit in Chicago, “because if you build an environment where you don’t have good choice other than driving, then the predictable thing happens and people drive, so we don’t know what people prefer.”

“If we create environments where people have choices…all of a sudden we discover demands that are invisible right now,” he added.

Other experts highlighted the essential nature of micromobility data as the basis for building fair, efficient and integrated systems into a comprehensive transport ecosystem.

“What makes data important isn’t necessarily the amount of data, but the predictive measurement it’s based on, which really allows us to make more informed decisions,” said Amanda Leahy, associate planner at Kittelson and Associates and President of the Association of Pedestrians. and cycling professionals.

“For example, when a new infrastructure is built, how many people will use it? Will the use of personal vehicles decrease? How will this affect the price of housing? What is the risk of displacement? How will profits be distributed? And who will benefit the most? Leahy proposed at a recent panel on active transportation, hosted by StreetLight Data, another transportation technology company.

“Data mining requires new technologies and new data management models. New data integration techniques to combine varied and multiple sources,” she added.

Skip Descant writes about smart cities, the Internet of Things, transportation, and more. He spent more than 12 years reporting for daily newspapers in Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and California. He lives in downtown Yreka, California.

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Ramon J. Espinoza