Mike Day is Partner at award-winning urban planning and design practice Hatch Roberts Day (robertsday.com.au)
With our cities fast increasing in density, it makes sense for us to turn to smaller, lighter, more nimble transportation systems. Micro-mobility is a catch-all term for small, lightweight transport options from bicycles and rollerblades to e-bikes, electric scooters and skateboards, or any transport is either electric or human-powered and typically used for commutes of up to 10km, at speeds of up to 25km/h.
Mike Day is Partner at award-winning urban planning and design practice Hatch Roberts Day (robertsday.com.au), – the urban solutions division of Hatch – and a fellow of the Planning Institute of Australia. He has 30-plus years’ experience in planning and design and has led the Hatch | Roberts Day design teams on a range of urban renewal and new townships projects across Australia, the UAE and Asia.
Mike says the Australian ‘housing affordability crisis’ is somewhat of a myth. Instead, we are facing an ‘affordable living crisis’ that is causing damage to our society, with soaring car costs for people in outer suburbs of our capital cities, social inequity, and long commutes. The latest quarterly research by the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) has established that the annual cost of owning and running a car in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane is $26,000 and the average cost across all Australian capital cities is $23,000. At an interest rate of 6%, removing one car from a two- or three-car family, and the associated cost, would service around $300,000 of a housing loan.
Mike presents e-bikes as a viable alternative to a car. Not only does a full charge of an e-bike cost 25-30 cents per 60km of powered riding, if just 15 per cent of urban transportation comprised e-bikes, carbon emissions could be reduced by 12 per cent. E-bikes also utilise more direct routes, and studies have shown there is minimal difference in physical activity gains between e-bikers and cyclists. Bikes can move seven times more people than cars: a single lane of traffic can move 14,000 cyclists an hour, compared with 9000 people on buses and just 2000 people in cars. E-bikes need their own dedicated lane, separate from pedestrian movement and cars.
Mike says that to maximise the benefits and address the new challenges that micro-mobility brings, we need to prioritise the integration of micro-mobility into our existing road networks, and design a new micro-mobility-focused streetscape for the future.
Mike says forward-thinking governments and councils are keen to embrace the concept but face several roadblocks. “Micro-mobility is an extremely cost-effective way to get closer to our climate goals while addressing the perennial urban problems of traffic congestion and air pollution. It brings faster trips for commuters, offers an alternative for last-mile servicing and parcel delivery, and has proven health benefits for users. Studies show that compared to driving, riding an e-bike improves our physical health, happiness and overall sense of wellbeing.’’
One of the main obstacles to greater micro-mobility uptake is the safety concerns of cyclists and other riders when it comes to sharing roads with conventional traffic.
“An exciting solution currently being tested in places like Europe is designated roads with multiple lanes suited to the speed of each transport mode. This can not only improve safety but substantially increase traffic flow through congested areas.’’
Improved riding, parking, and charging infrastructure, and integration with high-frequency public transport networks, are other paths for micro-mobility-friendly authorities to explore.
Mike Day biography
Mike is a fellow of the Planning Institute of Australia, a former board member of the East Perth Redevelopment Authority and Deputy Chair of the Subiaco Redevelopment Authority. He is currently a member of the Committee for Melbourne’s Liveability + Urban Optimisation Standing Committee, a member of the Victorian Division of the Urban Development Institute of Australia’s Sustainability & Innovation Committee and was formerly the Chair of the Housing Industry Association WA Planning and Development Committee.
Mike has received numerous citations. In 2018, he was the recipient of the Place Leaders Asia Pacific Award for Leadership in Promoting Walkable Urbanism and received the Russell Taylor Award for Design Excellence for Ellenbrook New Town – Australia’s most awarded urban development project, which was the recipient of the FIABCI 2015 World Prix d’Excellence for the world’s best masterplanned community.
 M. McQueen, et al., 2020, ‘The E-Bike Potential: Estimating regional e-bike impacts on greenhouse gas emissions’: https://www.
 A. Castro, et al, 2019, ‘Physical activity of electric bicycle users compared to conventional bicycle users and non-cyclists: Insights based on health and transport data from an online survey in seven European cities’, https://www.