The popularity of e-scooters, which are typically operated by mobility companies like Bird, Lime and Uber, has grown tremendously during the last year. Scooters, which do not require pedaling or much effort to use, are fast, efficient and great for short trips. While bicycles have a loyal (and rapidly growing) user base of their own, scooters tend to appeal to an entirely new group of city-dwellers, as they do not require pedaling or cycling skills to use.

While some cities embrace scooters (albeit, with strict limits), others are less enthusiastic. Here in the US, New York is the most prominent metropolis that does not permit dockless scooters.

The arguments against scooters should be familiar to anyone who has followed the rise of dockless bikes; clutter in the street, fears of broken scooters littering the public right-of-way and general disorder are among the most often cited.

There’s a potential game changer on the horizon, however.

Meet Oonee

Quietly launched in early October in partnership with the Alliance For Downtown New York, and with approval from the City’s Department of Transportation, Oonee is a smart, modular pod that provides space for parking, charging and servicing bicycles & scooters.

After spending more than a year listening to feedback from the community, we designed Oonee to be the first micro-mobility infrastructure that could truly scale in cities.

Oonee 95% complete
New York’s first hub for bikes and scooters launched in October
Oonee Side Profile
Oonee combines an iconic exterior, great public space amenities and much needed infrastructure for bikes and scooters

Capabilities

Though scooters have proven very popular in cities, there is insufficient infrastructure to support their growth. Finding secure cycle parking has always been difficult, and now the same is true for e-scooters.

Oonee provides this missing infrastructure to cities in the following ways:

  • Parking: Each Oonee provides weather-protected parking for bikes and scooters (the exact number depends on the pod’s size and configuration)
  • Charging: The interior of Oonee is powered and can be connected to charging stations, which can power e-scooters and e-bicycles.
  • Service: The interior of Oonee is spacious enough to allow individuals or company staff to tweak and work on scooters or bicycles without the perverse impact of weather or other outdoor conditions.
  • Access control: Only registered users are access to Oonee’s interior. Our smart lock system works with a keycard or mobile phone app.

In Lower Manhattan, Oonee provides 20 secure parking spaces to the community, with additional room available for scooters as well. Other configurations could include exclusively scooter parking, or a combination of bicycle and scooter parking.

For Scooter Companies

A network of such facilities would instantly change the game in New York for scooters, providing a rare “win-win” for stakeholders:

  • Government & Community: Each Oonee could serve as a natural “consolidation point” for scooter operations, which could reduce or eliminate streetscape clutter.
  • Users: Riders would have a network of “hubs” which would allow them to find and drop-off scooters. Many would appreciate having a place where they’re guaranteed to find a dockless scooter instead of using the app to find them in the streets.
  • Companies: Mobility firms are sure to love having a network of “mini operations” hubs dispersed throughout a city. These hubs could provide a valuable option for daily operations (charging, maintenance, network rebalancing etc) as well as larger fleet operations (removing scooters from the streets prior to extreme weather.)

 

Above: Oonee is made from modular components and can be deployed in less than 24 hours, making rapid scale a possibility
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A spacious, access controlled, interior could allow MaaS staff to repair and charge scooters while they’re docked inside

Design Features

Conventional solutions in this field are bland and ugly, usually designed for suburban parking lots, not marquee public spaces. With Oonee, we flipped the script, combining a practical, modular frame with a sleek, iconic profile. Oonee is designed to enhance public spaces, not detract from them.

Oonee’s patent-pending design includes over 250 individual design innovations and refinements, all of which could be an asset in the drive to bring scooters to New York.

  • Design: One of the main challenges with traditional infrastructures is an over reliance on perforated metal and other cage-like materials. Oonee uses premium plastics and aluminum metals in order to create a unique, architecturally significant profile.
  • Modular & Customizable: Each Oonee is created from a kit of modular parts, making it easy to build pods of different shapes, configurations and sizes. This innovative design approach allows each Oonee to meet the individual needs of its environment.
  • Freestanding: Oonee can provide its own ballast for self support. This means that drilling into the ground and anchoring is not necessary.
  • Public Space Amenities: Oonee comes with a range of great public space “modules,” including greenery, seating and ambient light. These public space amenities are designed to activate public spaces, allowing each Oonee to serve a dual purpose; mobility infrastructure and public space activator.
  • Off Grid Options: The Lower Manhattan Oonee is entirely off the grid, with three 300 watt solar panels on the roof and two powerful 12 volt 1200 amp batteries in its base.
  • Safety and Accessibility: We carefully designed Oonee’s interior to allow light, air and sound to pass through for both safety and usability purposes. The result is a pleasant, but no-frills environment.
  • Branding & Sponsorship: The exterior of Oonee was carefully designed to support a range of vinyl graphics. The centerpiece of the pod’s branding features are two massive polycarbonate display panels, which provide ample room for vivid displays.
Oonee at night
Oonee becomes a lightbox during the evening hours, with a well lit interior and ambient light bleeding through to the exterior
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Each Oonee includes options for public space amenities like benches, greenery and ambient lighting
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Oonee works with communities to introduce much needed infrastructure for bikes and scooters

Operations

We design, deploy, operate and maintain each Oonee, eliminating a potentially cumbersome burden for property owners and mobility firms. To date, we’ve received no sanitation or quality of life complaints from property owners or the community.

An Innovative Revenue Model

Oonee’s copious marketing space provides a natural opportunity for sponsors, who are seeking non-traditional ways to engage with the public. Oonee offers both long term “title sponsorships,” which leverage the naming rights for the entire network, and shorter monthly sponsorships.

This revenue model allows us to generate enough revenue to cover the capital and operational costs of each location, especially in a lucrative media market like New York.

Scaling Up

Oonee is slated to launch at Brooklyn’s Atlantic Terminal and Queens Place Mall in early 2019, and is in conversations with a number of organizations for additional Manhattan locations in late Winter and Spring of 2019.

Our emphasis on modular technology makes rapid scale possible. Though they’re customizable, each pod is built from a standard kit of modular parts that allows them to be quickly fabricated and assembled. Installation typically takes under two days, while pods can be easily modified or moved.

Traditional infrastructure can take months or years to design and iterate, each Oonee can be deployed in just days.

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Oonee imagined by the South Street Seaport
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A small Oonee rendered in Brooklyn

The Big Picture

It’s early, but a large network of these infrastructures could be exactly what scooters need to truly scale in New York and other large cities. All mobility requires some form of infrastructure, and Oonee is working to build the micro-mobility infrastructure of the future.

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