Bird released a new set of tools for cities that are struggling to manage the influx of shareable electric scooters flooding their streets — a phenomenon that the Venice, California-based startup helped create almost a year ago. The tools, which Bird calls its “GovTech Platform,” are intended to assist cities in better integrating e-scooters into their overall transportation networks, the company says. But it will only be applicable to Bird’s scooters, not those from other companies.
The GovTech Platform includes a data dashboard for cities to track how its citizens are using electric scooters, as well as geofencing capabilities to prevent users from using or parking scooters in certain areas of the city. Bird has always offered anonymized data to cities in which it operates, but it admits that it can sometimes be clunky and difficult to parse through. In its initial release, the company’s dashboard will utilize API data on vehicle status and trips to create aggregated and categorized reports, in the hopes that it addresses any complaints for cities.
With geofencing, the Bird app will tell riders locations within a city where e-scooters are prohibited. (This is sure to win supporters in New York City, where the company is pushing for legislation to legalize the use of e-scooters.) The company is updating its app to include easier ways for users to report unsafe riding, riding on sidewalks, or poor parking. And it will feature educational messages for riders about local rules and safety tips.
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