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Sustainable mobility in the face of disaster

Roll Scooters

9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities 13. Climate Action

Overview

Roll technologies is an e-mobility organization that connects humans with electronic mobility solutions to get them from point a to point b. Roll provides both the backend platform and the physical vehicles to aid in human mobility, all without the use of fossil fuels or traditional automobiles. Roll technologies drives sustainable cities and communities by reducing carbon emissions in travel, while also aiding in the infrastructure required to promote sustainable industry.

Author

Heman Joshi

Heman Joshi

School

York University- Schulich School of Business

York University- Schulich School of Business

Professor

Charles Cho

Charles Cho

Innovation

Roll utilizes a growing fleet of e-mobility vehicles such as scooters and bicycles in order to reduce the reliance on cars for last mile and first mile personal transportation. Roll as a business provides both the fleet for municipalities to use as well as the technology for individuals to manage their vehicles and for cities to manage their fleets. The scooters utilize machine learning algorithms to understand whether riders are utilizing safety equipment, and as well provides tests to ensure cognitive stability of their riders.

Roll is helping to achieve UN SDG goals 9, 11, and 13. Roll is aiding in sustainable innovation and infrastructure by connecting people with resources through its sold-at-cost vehicles and allowing cities to manage fleets of e-mobile vehicles. During the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Roll provided free transportation to first responders in the municipalities it services. Roll is aiding in making cities and human settlements inclusive through sustainable public transport available to all. And finally, Roll is helping to reduce the amount of greenhouse emissions within our cities. They were offering free rides during the BC wildfires in an effort to reduce a growing smog problem.


Sustainable mobility in the face of disaster

Inspiration

The leaders of Roll were inspired in 2017 by cities within America that traditionally were car dependent yet invested in electric vehicles. In 2019 they recognized a gap in many Canadian cities around sustainable micromobility and started operations. They saw how e-scooters and electric bicycles were helping low income communities gain access to travel at a lowest cost than automobile transport. Seeing the benefits the team at Roll wanted to bring this to the Canadian market. From CCO Arda Erturk, " Our CEO Richard had experience with the manufacturing and distribution of electric scooters", and this naturally progressed into a vertically integrated business; fleet management and the vehicles themselves to municipalities that were wanting to reduce their dependency on cars and increase their investment into sustainable transportation.

The team at Roll was also growing concerned with the amount of carbon being released by traditional automobiles worldwide, and were looking to protect the Canadian environment. Disasters such as the California wildfires and the BC floods were imminent in their minds, and many smaller communities would be unable to bear the brunt of climate change and sustainable transport infrastructure without some form of help.

Overall impact

Short term effects of their services in any of the cities Roll supported were numerous. For example, Roll was able to help organizations during the 2020 Covid-19 onset based on their mobility solutions. Healthcare professionals who were wary of using public transport in Kelowna BC to attend hospital shifts were given free transport, which had the added benefit of both transporting healthcare workers to hospitals while also reducing the vectors of viral transmission that these workers would face in enclosed transport such as buses or taxis.

Vehicular transport is full of safety concerns for new riders and other differently-abled users. However, Roll utilizes artificial intelligence techniques to identify whether riders are wearing safety gear such as helmets. This, combined with their focus on providing new users with a safe experience, means that their e-scooters limit speeds and can block users from unsafe travel on their vehicles. You can't drive their scooters impaired!

In terms of long term effects, Roll’s innovations have helped reduce car dependency. City staff from one of Roll's served municipalities reported that 1/3rd of their e-scooter trips were replacing car trips which prevented approximately 300,000km of car trips. From CCO Arda Erturk, "This distance equates to crossing the entire Earth 7 times! In terms of greenhouse gases, this also means that 60 metric tons of CO2 were prevented from entering the atmosphere so far!"

Business benefit

Roll has been able to provide fleets of e-mobility scooters to 8 municipalities in Canada so far. While their societal and environmental benefits are numerous, Roll recognizes that they need to expand and aid other municipalities potentially around the globe. Therefore, though they provide the e-moblity fleets at cost, they charge a service fee for each trip taken on one of their scooters. This fee is minimal compared to what the municipality will receive for the rental of one of their e-scooters, while still ensuring that all trips are profitable for both Roll and the municipality.

Through their innovations, Roll is creating job opportunities based on their need for delivery drivers to both deliver the vehicles and ensure they are spread out evenly through the cities served. Because of Roll, several individuals in each city have been brought on as Operations specialists to aid in the enabling of micro-mobility for their communities.

The nature of the innovation being Canadian-made and one of the only companies in Canada to do so, means that new markets are constantly being opened. Roll has been, well, on a roll with their expansion to smaller municipalities across Canada! Given that these municipalities are traditionally under-served by technology companies and other infrastructure investment, Roll has found a niche and is continuing to expand in this new market.


Social and environmental benefit

Roll is helping to reduce the environmental impact of travel in communities around Canada, especially communities which are currently impacted by climate change events. Through the use of Roll's sustainable e-mobility solutions, people in these communities can ensure that their transportation is not affecting their livelihood, homes, and survival.

Roll is also enabling cities to ensure that sustainable transportation is available to all. Roll sells municipalities their required fleets of vehicles at cost and aids in the operation/implementation of the vehicle management, while also ensuring that their solutions are available in under-served communities for people who normally are unable to afford or utilize private transport. This is extremely important given the often sequestered nature of socioeconomically disadvantaged communities along with societal concerns around community transmission with viral pandemics.

Roll has recently implemented an outreach program for small businesses that were affected adversely by the Covid-19 pandemic. As stated on their website, they will feature and promote small businesses on their app to encourage riders to patronize these businesses and offer discounted prices.

From CCO Arda Erturk, "[Roll] is beneficial for cities, communities, and the world".

Interview

Arda Erturk, Chief Communication Officer

Photo of interviewee

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Roll Scooters

Roll Scooters

Toronto, British Columbia, Alberta, CA

Business Website: https://www.rollscooters.com/

Year Founded: 2019

Number of Employees: 2 to 10

Roll Scooters is an e-mobility organization that connects humans with electronic mobility solutions while reducing last mile and first mile car trips. Roll provides both the back-end platform and the physical vehicles to aid in human mobility, all without the use of fossil fuels or traditional automobiles. Roll technologies drives sustainable cities and communities by reducing carbon emissions in travel, while also aiding in the infrastructure required to promote sustainable transportation.