A Roundtable Discussion of the French Mobility Orientation Law

In addition to our release of a new white paper on the recently adopted French Mobility Orientation Law (or ‘LOM’ in french), the Urban Mobility Daily sat down with some of the top actors in the french mobility space to discuss how the law will affect business and the future of mobility in France. Joining the conversation was Anne Gadel, Public Policy Manager, France and Italy at Voi Technology, Romain Erny, Director of Mobility & Space at Choose Paris Region, and Clémence Vernhes, Head of Public Affairs at Autonomy

1. How has the LOM already impacted your business, and how will it impact you going into the future?

A.G.: The LOM has impacted our business positively, because it “legally” puts it on the map. It acknowledged active and shared modes by giving cities the possibility of promoting services such as those of electric scooter operators, while making their authorisation subject to requirements.

We support a vision of regulation favourable to innovation and welcome the efforts made over the last two years to provide a stable regulatory framework for the sector. This will likely encourage the development of new modes of mobility such as free-floating scooters while guaranteeing the maximum level of safety for users and a harmonious sharing of public space. 

In fact, new ways of considering the sharing of public space are emerging, and of having the private sector collaborate with the public sphere. A new form of governance is emerging that obliges municipalities to collaborate openly and in trust with private actors. Cities are becoming the selector of mobility solutions, which are flourishing on their streets for the benefit of city dwellers who are ever more in a hurry and connected, demanding more convenience. In that context they need to be able to control these developments in order to counter the negative externalities produced by these new services. At Voi, we believe in establishing a transparent and trusting relationship with cities and providing them with more knowledge of mobility flows in their territory.

R.E.: At Choose Paris Region, we support companies in the development and implementation of their projects in Ile-de-France. For several months now, many international companies from the mobility sector have asked me about this law’s framework. These companies are looking to understand whether these new regulations will play into their mobility activities in France.

How things will be implemented will specify certain aspects of the LOM, and I think that some companies will benefit quite quickly from this new legislative framework. We will therefore soon be accompanying new entrants into the French market.

2. Do you think the LOM will be effective in helping France transition away from single car ownership to more sustainable options like MaaS, and, if so, how?

A.G.: The voting of this law is great news for innovation: technological breakthroughs (4 then 5G, GPS technologies, platform economy, MaaS, etc.) coupled with changes in usage (economy of sharing versus economy of ownership, mobility habits transformed by the widespread use of smartphones, the need for immediacy and efficiency in travel, preference for multimodality, etc.) will allow the emergence of new mobility habits in cities.

All this combined puts shared electric scooter services at the forefront of the urban mobility revolution and will help cities and national authorities transition to sustainable modes of transportation, fostering multimodality and reaching sustainability targets. We are convinced that electric and shared mobility services play a central role in the decongestion of cities, as well as in the fight against air and noise pollution.

R.E.: The LOM is often compared to a toolbox, which gives, for example, local authorities more possibility to organise a variety of mobility modalities. The answers will obviously be different depending on the area. In large metropolitan areas, measures such as the implementation of the low-emission zones, the cycling plan, the sustainable mobility package, or the development of MaaS platforms will be able to contribute to the emergence of more attractive mobility solutions that hopefully make individual car use less interesting for the user.

3. In your opinion, what are the most important aspect(s) of the LOM?

A.G.: The law is a successful way to regulate the sector, as it clarifies the legal and regulatory framework for such services to operate in cities, all the while giving cities a good margin of action to decide which kind of regulation fits the local market better. This provides operators such as us an ability to apply a long term approach to running our business: we think it is better to operate in a regulated market with protected market shares. This approach allows us to be serious and continue to improve our own operations and international processes, such as scooter life cycle analysis (which we have been working on with EY and will communicate about in detail shortly). 

The law also acknowledges the importance of free-floating services in urban mobility, and the fact that it directly contributes to decluttering and depolluting cities. It also clarifies data sharing in mobility in order to foster multimodal applications. 

R.E.: It’s particularly difficult to choose among the 189 articles! The LOM is also, in a way, an update, or an integration of new uses of mobility (particularly in an urban environment) within an already existing legislative framework. That’s an important first point for me. Apart from that, I think the LOM is doing a great job in encouraging the transition to cleaner mobility: ending the sale of cars that use carbon-based fossil fuels by 2040, the low emission zones, the bicycle plan, and the scaling-up of charging stations for electric vehicles.

C.V.: One of the most crucial aspects of the LOM is the creation of the Sustainable Mobility Reimbursement Package that gives the opportunity for companies, in addition to the requirement to reimburse half of public transport costs of each employee, to reimburse their use of green mobility. This Package promotes the use of a wide range of alternatives to single car usage: cycling, car pooling, car sharing, etc. We believe that one of the key ways to support the transition to sustainable alternatives will be through corporate mobility.

4. What kind of market opportunities will the LOM generate for foreign interest in the French mobility industry?

A.G.: Surely the law puts the French market and businesses on par with international standards and initiatives, and prepares for a decade of innovation. This will only help in attracting foreign capital and interest. A clear proof of this is the number of foreign free-floating operators wanting to enter the French market. 

R.E.: In the short term, we see opportunities for operators of free-floating electric scooters to be awarded titles that allow them to occupy and operate in the public domain, including the very coveted titles that are given by the City of Paris. A legislative framework now exists to enable local authorities to oversee these services.

In the medium term, we have seen very strong interest from companies working on connected and autonomous mobility. Our ability to adapt the regulatory framework will be key to seeing the emergence of the autonomous delivery of goods or transport of people. We must be collectively vigilant to ensure that these services respond to the real needs of users and citizens.

C.V.: The LOM makes the French mobility market very attractive by creating lots of opportunities for companies. Indeed, the LOM affects a number of very different sectors in the objective to enhance mobility throughout the country as well as to promote a smart and green mobility: electric and autonomous mobility, car sharing, car pooling, MaaS, free-floating, etc. Thus, this law also gives regional and local authorities a central role in developing mobility with mandatory requirements such as the development of information systems and the creation of low emission zones.

In particular, at Autonomy we have had a lot of interest in our services and the desire to meet french decision makers coming from those companies working in data and the digital mobility space. I think this will only continue to grow as more public authorities will be looking for digital services and open data platforms to help them in their implementation of open access to data and information systems.

Click here to read the white paper on the French Mobility orientation law

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