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    Okai News - July 2020

    Okai News - July 2020

    News from Okai

    Now more than ever, like-minded people in mobility need to come together to find new solutions to get people moving. To jumpstart the conversation, we invite you to the OKAI Motion Show 2020 in Berlin on July 16.

    Unlike traditional trade shows, we will be focusing on products, people, and interactions, not speeches and keynotes. This will also be the first time we are inviting the public to see our new office at The Drivery.

    Come check out the latest vehicles, charging infrastructure, and software solutions from Okai and our partners. To attend, please register here.

    DATE & TIME: Thursday, 16 July 2020, from 09:00 to 19:30
    VENUE: The Drivery, Mariendorfer Damm 1, 12099 Berlin, Germany

    PROGRAM:
    09:00 - 10:00 Registration & coffee
    10:00 - 12:00 Show, keynotes, speed networking
    12:00 - 13:00 Lunch hosted by Okai
    14:00 - 17:00 Show, test rides, keynotes
    17:30 - 19:30 Drinks, light food, music, chill, hosted by Okai

    Latest Reports

    1. Great Britain and New York both legalized e-scooter rentals in recent weeks, but the two systems they set up differ greatly on implementation. While the first scooter pilots have already begun in the UK, New York will not start its trials until next March at the earliest. (For more info on the UK’s impending scooter war, check out this useful overview.)
    2. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo won a resounding reelection victorywhile running on a stridently anti-car platform late last month. For her second term, the environmentalist leader has vowed to pursue a variety of policies that would transform the French capital into a pedestrian-and-cyclist utopia on par with Copenhagen or Amsterdam.
    3. A group of Formula One and Formula E drivers is starting a new e-scooter racing series called eSkootr, set to launch next year. Competitors in the series will zip through the streets of a yet-unannounced city on custom-built scooters at speeds of up to 100 kilometers per hour.
    4. Apple announced that, when iOS 14 arrives, the new version of Mapswill include cycling directions and routing info for EV-charging stations.
    5. New market research shows that US bike and accessory sales shot up 75% in April from a year earlier, hitting $1 billion for the first time ever in a single month.

    What We’re Reading

    🚶The high cost of bad sidewalks

    As more people walk their neighborhoods to ward off cabin fever during quarantine, the scourge of bad sidewalks has become glaringly obvious. Due to underinvestment in pedestrian infrastructure, many communities don’t have enough sidewalks, and those walkways that do exist are often disconnected and poorly maintained. By making it harder for people to get around, inadequate sidewalk networks adversely impact public health and economic wellbeing in normal times. During a pandemic, they create a new set of problems. For example, it is very difficult for pedestrians to maintain proper social distance while navigating a narrow strip of cracked concrete pavers. 

    👻Ghosting on dinner plans

    Ghost kitchens, or takeout-only restaurants that exist exclusively on food-delivery platforms like Uber Eats, have the potential to drastically reshape urban life. These digital-first restaurants require minimal physical real estate to do business (some are so small that they operate out of trailers in parking lots), while encouraging hyper-local consumption and diminished car use. Now that the coronavirus pandemic has temporarily turned all restaurants into delivery businesses, the inflection point for ghost kitchens may be here. 

    💡A few ideas

    What does the scooter industry need to do to make it through the current crisis alive? Melinda Hanson and Alison Murphy, veterans of Bird and Lime, respectively, recently co-authored an op-ed proposing a few changes in strategy. On the private side, they recommend that micromobility companies diversify their leadership to better reflect the needs of their users, while focusing their messaging more on climate change to attract greater ESG financing. On the government side, their advice includes increasing funding for safe streets infrastructure and overhauling the permitting process to make scooter RFPs more performance-based. 

    🛣️Of roads and racism

    Los Angeles’s sprawling freeway system was built to enforce segregation. As the automobile became the dominant mode of transport in LA after World War II, local officials systematically routed freeway projects through racially diverse neighborhoods, while painstakingly avoiding white areas. Thousands of homes belonging to minority families were destroyed in the process. Now, as part of a larger discourse about structural injustice, LA and other car-dependent cities like it are confronting the legacy of racist freeways. 

    🚗A future without automobiles

    By enabling urban-dwellers to visualize their communities free from congestion, smog, and blaring horns for the first time, the pandemic has opened a window into a car-free alternate reality. In a stunning new piece in the NYT, opinion columnist Farhad Manjoo questions why cities currently waste so much space on cars and visualizes what the future could look like without them. “Rather than stumble back into car dependency, cities can begin to undo their worst mistake: giving up so much of their land to the automobile,” he writes. 

    Words of the Month

    German: Schnapsidee
    Lit. German for a “liquor,” or crazy, idea.

    Chinese: shīfu (師傅)
    A term of respect for someone who is a master of their craft.