TIER set to add sound to e-scooters alerting blind and visually impaired people of approach
London, 02 November 2020 – TIER, the leading European micro-mobility operator, has committed to adding sound to its vehicles to alert blind and partially sighted people of their approach. The company has partnered with national charity Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT) and will be using new research from the organisation to design the feature and roll it out across its fleet in 2021.
There are more than two million people who are blind or partially sighted living in the UK* and the recent introduction of e-scooter trials has been met with caution by some, with concerns expressed about e-scooters being hard to detect when approaching. TIER hopes that by installing a sound in its vehicles, and calling on other operators to follow suit, it can raise safety standards and help to build confidence among visually impaired pedestrians when it comes to e-scooters being on the roads.
The sound will complement TIER’s existing technology, which slows vehicles to a halt in areas where riding is forbidden. Sight Loss Councils, funded by TPT and led by blind and partially sighted members, will be performing research and running focus groups across the UK to shape how the e-scooters should sound, when and where the sound should be used, and how visually impaired people can be educated on the feature.
Founded in 2018, TIER recently launched the York e-scooter trial and serves over 80 other cities globally across ten countries. The company has become renowned for its industry-leading approach to safety, offering a built-in helmet, indicator lights and a range of other game-changing features.
Fred Jones, TIER’s UK General Manager, said: “E-scooters offer lots of benefits to UK cities, but they must be introduced in a considered way, working in harmony with local communities and accounting for the concerns of people with visual impairment.
“At TIER, rather than just paying lip service to visually impaired people, we want to work with them to deliver real action to address their concerns. So we are thrilled to be working with Thomas Pocklington Trust to design and roll out a sound alert across our vehicles next year.”
Charles Colquhoun, CEO at Thomas Pocklington Trust, said: “We’re delighted TIER has engaged with us through the Sight Loss Councils and now has a deeper understanding and empathy of the concerns of blind and partially sighted people around e-scooters.
“By introducing the audio alert systems TIER is directly responding to the concerns that the introduction of silent, heavy and fast e-scooters represents a real danger to blind and partially sighted people. It has also agreed to incorporate advice and guidance to promote vision awareness for e-scooter riders within its induction information for each e-scooter hire.
“We understand the benefits of e-scooters as an environmentally friendly transport option, particularly for cities, but these must be safe so that our streets are accessible for all. So, we welcome these developments and are delighted to support TIER in introducing the audio systems to its e-scooters.”
* The economic impact of sight loss and blindness in the UK adult population, RNIB, 2019
About TIER Mobility
TIER Mobility is Europe’s leading provider of micro-mobility with a mission to change mobility for good.
The company is a driving force behind the change in the transport sector, which aims to significantly reduce car traffic in cities by providing people with a wide range of electric vehicles.
As part of its commitment to sustainability, the company has adopted the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a guiding framework and has set a clear agenda for reducing and offsetting emissions. As a result of these measures, TIER Mobility has been a climate-neutral company since January 2020.
TIER Mobility operates in 85+ cities in 10 countries. The company is headquartered in Berlin and employs about 900 people. Founders of the company are Lawrence Leuschner, Matthias Laug. and Julian Blessin.
The company’s investors are SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Mubadala Investment Company’s financial investment arm, Mubadala Capital, Northzone, Goodwater Capital, White Star Capital, Novator, RTP Global, Speedinvest and many more. In addition, there are selected business angels and individual investors like Formula 1 World Champion Nico Rosberg.
About Thomas Pocklington Trust
Thomas Pocklington Trust is a national charity dedicated to enabling and empowering blind and partially sighted people of all ages to live the life they want to lead. We are committed to increasing awareness and understanding of their needs and aspirations, to working with partners and to developing and implementing services which meet these needs to increase independence and improve lives. These include:
- Acting as an advocate and positive change agent for blind and partially sighted people.
- Creating opportunities for blind and partially sighted people seeking employment.
- Enabling opportunities and supporting blind and partially sighted people whilst in and entering education.
- Facilitating the voice and encouraging self-determination of blind and partially sighted people.
- Being an effective partner and grant funder based on our knowledge of the sector.
About Sight Loss Councils
Sight Loss Councils, funded by Thomas Pocklington Trust and led by blind and partially sighted volunteers, advocate the needs of blind and partially sighted people and influence positive change in the area.
SLCs are currently working in Birmingham, Black Country, Bristol, Gloucestershire, Greater Manchester and Merseyside. Each SLC is made up of around 10-12 blind and partially sighted members who meet monthly to discuss accessibility issues and plan projects in their regions under the six priority themes of education, employment, technology, health and social care, transport, sport and leisure. Over the next year Thomas Pocklington Trust will be extending its SLCs across the country. www.sightlosscouncils.org.uk