About the Micromobility Research Partnership

The Micromobility Research Partnership (MRP) is an independent research body, born out of a partnership between academics and researchers across Australia and New Zealand.

The MRP will conduct research on sustainable transport to identify and promote priority pathways to reduce global transport emissions, and other topics including:

  • Micromobility’s economic and social value to a city, including strategies to address transport poverty and promote social inclusion.
  • The environmental impact of micromobility in improving air quality and reducing transport emissions
  • Understanding the current and potential future use of micromobility as a mode of transport, and its impacts on car-use and car-ownership
  • Delivering safe and sustainable transport futures

MRP continues to grow its academic collaborations globally with the aim to educate and inform towards a less emitting transport future. 

We therefore invite academics, researchers and industry experts in the field of sustainable transportation and micromobility to make contact to join our journey, via collaborations@MRP.com

Meet the members of the Micromobility Research Partnership

Mr Ferdinand Balfoort

Managing Partner of Micromobility Research Partnership

Mr Ferdinand Balfoort is a global professional advisor and academic researcher in the areas of ESG, sustainable transport and micromobility as well as governance, compliance and financial and sustainable impact reporting. Since 2016 Ferdinand has worked on a range of green technology/ ESG projects globally, both for listed and unlisted clients, and has extended his financial accounting and audit expertise to sustainability accounting, standards, modeling, and carbon certification. He has project managed complex sustainable transportation and logistics projects with multinationals and university partners, including at Tata Steel, Blue Scope Steel, SkyNRG/KLM, Rio Tinto, as well as EU and Asian government agencies and research institutions (CSIRO (Australia), Callaghan Institute (NZ), Khazanah Nasional Bhd (Malaysia). He leads the Micromobility Research Partnership (www.theMRP.org), a Not For Profit research foundation.  He is the sustainable transport advisor to Beam Technology (APAC), where he develops sustainability frameworks, carbon emission models and sustainable accounting approaches for the micromobility sector, to achieve a measurable reduction in traditional fossil fuelled transport modes GHG emissions.  In addition, Ferdinand is carbon certification lead for Urban Analytica, a University of Melbourne transport technology spin off focussing on applied telematics and IoT technology to reduce transport emissions.

John Nelson

Chair in Public Transport

Prof John Nelson holds the Chair in Public Transport, Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies (ITLS), University of Sydney, a renowned international centre for the latest thinking on the crucially linked areas of transport, infrastructure, logistics and supply chain management. From 2007-2019 he was the Sixth Century Chair of Transport Studies in the School of Engineering at the University of Aberdeen and Director of the Centre for Transport Research (CTR). Before moving to Aberdeen, he was Professor of Public Transport Systems in the School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences at Newcastle University. John is particularly interested in the application and evaluation of new technologies to improve transport systems as well as the policy frameworks and regulatory regimes necessary to achieve sustainable mobility. He is active in the ITS community and served as Scientific Director for the 11th ITS European Congress (June 2016). Currently, he is a member of the ITS Australia MaaS National Reference Committee and the ASCE Technical Committee on MOD and MaaS. He is a co-author (with David Hensher and others) of Understanding Mobility as a Service (MaaS). Past, Present and Future (Elsevier, May 2020) and co-editor (with Corinne Mulley) of Urban Form and Accessibility (Elsevier, December 2020) and (with Corinne Mulley and Steve Ison) of The Routledge Handbook of Public Transport (Routledge, May 2021). His most recent book is Transportation in a Net Zero World: Transitioning Towards Low Carbon Public Transport (with Kathryn Logan and Astley Hastings and published by Springer, April 2022).


Yuting Zhang

Research Fellow

Ms Yuting Zhang is a research fellow at the Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies (ITLS), University of Sydney which she joined in May 2022. With an architecture background, Yuting entered the urban planning sector in 2014. She has multiple experiences working on projects in the United States and China, tasks involving transport, land use, and environmental planning. After landing in Australia in 2017, Yuting worked in Urban Housing Lab at the Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning for five years, in which position she contributed to a wide range of Australian housing research, collaborating with academic and industrial partners. Yuting is particularly interested in how the sharing economy may affect urban life, via bringing changes in housing, jobs, and commute choices. She is experienced in observing platform-enabled sharing behaviours and has developed expertise in interpreting urban data from a geographical perspective (ArcGIS). Yuting takes a keen interest in applying spatial analysis in transportation planning. Yuting is currently working on an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Project on sustainable mobility, collaborating with Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW). The project explores how active travel may influence long-term behaviour change and public health benefits.

Dr Maisie Rahbar

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Dr Maisie Rahbar is a postdoc research fellow in Emerging Mobility within the School of Civil Engineering at the University of Queensland (UQ). As a Transport Modeller with over 9 years of experience in the field of transport modelling and planning, she has been involved in a wide range of multi-disciplinary projects for clients such as state governments, delivery authorities and local councils, in Australia and internationally. Her areas of interest and expertise are broadly in the area of strategic transport modelling and planning, public and active transport, statistical modelling, largescale transport data analysis and modelling, and travel behavior modelling. At UQ, she expands on her expertise through her work on the UQ Mobility as a Service (MaaS) trial known as ODIN PASS, funded by the Department of Transport and Main Road, iMove CRC, and UQ. In this trial, Maisie has been leading a research team to evaluate the impact that MaaS has on travel behaviour at UQ, as well as more broadly across Queensland. This trial will also provide detailed insight into consumer willingness-to-pay for MaaS passes/plans, as well as consumer preferences towards different transport modes such as micro-mobility.

The University of Auckland's Transportation Research Centre (TRC) is dedicated to conducting research that covers all aspects of Transportation. We explore a broad range of transportation and mobility research including transport safety, construction materials and infrastructure design and asset management, to traffic systems, AI and advanced modelling, new transport technologies, user behaviours, and public transit.

Beam Australia and New Zealand’s General Manager Tom Cooper said:

“Since our launch into Australia and New Zealand, Beam has always been committed to working with academics and researchers to examine the impacts of micromobility on the environment, cities and communities which we operate in.

It is with great excitement that Beam initiates the Micromobility Research Partnership, with a commitment to contributing funding, our aggregated data and other operational findings towards greater understanding of micromobility in the region.

Beam is committed to partnerships that better improve Australians and New Zealanders’ access to multi-modal transport, and we see this partnership as yet another step taken towards enabling shared mobility solutions for all in Australia, New Zealand as well as globally.

This will encourage and enable increased research and study into micromobility in the region.”

Dr Robin Smit

“It is unlikely we will achieve a rapid reduction in greenhouse gas emissions solely through electrification of the road transport sector. The focus should also be on improving energy efficiency. It is simple: the heavier a vehicle, the more energy is required per kilometre of driving. So light-weighting and down-sizing of the on-road fleet and reversing the trend of ever-larger and heavier vehicles will be critical to address climate change. Micro-mobility will play a pivotal role in the transition to sustainable transport.”

Mr Ferdinand Balfoort

“Transport emissions globally continue to rise in spite of efforts to reduce these to meet Paris Agreement targets. Transport-related emissions also represent a significant portion of global emissions and contribute significantly to mortalities and health issues globally. I am therefore looking forward to engaging with my academic peers in cutting edge research on transport sustainability, to thereby provide policymakers and governments reliable insights and data, and hence accelerate the reduction in reliance on traditional fossil-fuelled transportation.”

Professor Hussein Dia

“The MRP will help provide the research community with access to much-needed data to evaluate the sustainability and safety aspects of micromobility, particularly at a time when the industry is witnessing a rapid growth of technology and digitalization improvements leading to increasingly more durable and sustainable devices. This initiative will create opportunities for collaboration between researchers across the globe which will help to share case study results, quantify benefits and remove barriers to wide-scale adoption. The MRP will lead to the development of meaningful research to provide evidence of the role of micromobility as a solution to reduce reliance on private vehicle travel, particularly for first and last kilometre connections to transport hubs and for short commuting trips.”

Professor Mark Stevenson

“We are confronted by significant global health challenges in the 21st century, which are prompting calls to rethink how we deliver key urban systems. This is particularly the situation when dealing with the transport system. Our transport futures will rely on new initiatives such as micromobility. I welcome the MRP; a partnership that will support independent, robust research and provide the important insights necessary for transport planning and policy decisions now and into the future.”

Beam Australia and New Zealand’s General Manager Tom Cooper said:

“Since our launch into Australia and New Zealand, Beam has always been committed to working with academics and researchers to examine the impacts of micromobility on the environment, cities and communities which we operate in.

It is with great excitement that Beam initiates the Micromobility Research Partnership, with a commitment to contributing funding, our aggregated data and other operational findings towards greater understanding of micromobility in the region.

Beam is committed to partnerships that better improve Australians and New Zealanders’ access to multi-modal transport, and we see this partnership as yet another step taken towards enabling shared mobility solutions for all in Australia, New Zealand as well as globally.

This will encourage and enable increased research and study into micromobility in the region.”

Impact Consultant Ferdinand Balfoort said:

“Transport emissions globally continue to rise in spite of efforts to reduce these to meet Paris Agreement targets. Transport-related emissions also represent a significant portion of global emissions and contribute significantly to mortalities and health issues globally. I am therefore looking forward to engaging with my academic peers in cutting edge research on transport sustainability, to thereby provide policymakers and governments reliable insights and data, and hence accelerate the reduction in reliance on traditional fossil-fuelled transportation.”

Dr Robin Smit said:

“It is unlikely we will achieve a rapid reduction in greenhouse gas emissions solely through electrification of the road transport sector. The focus should also be on improving energy efficiency. It is simple: the heavier a vehicle, the more energy is required per kilometre of driving. So light-weighting and down-sizing of the on-road fleet and reversing the trend of ever-larger and heavier vehicles will be critical to address climate change. Micro-mobility will play a pivotal role in the transition to sustainable transport.”

Professor Hussein Dia said:

“The MRP will help provide the research community with access to much-needed data to evaluate the sustainability and safety aspects of micromobility, particularly at a time when the industry is witnessing a rapid growth of technology and digitalization improvements leading to increasingly more durable and sustainable devices. This initiative will create opportunities for collaboration between researchers across the globe which will help to share case study results, quantify benefits and remove barriers to wide-scale adoption. The MRP will lead to the development of meaningful research to provide evidence of the role of micromobility as a solution to reduce reliance on private vehicle travel, particularly for first and last kilometre connections to transport hubs and for short commuting trips.”

Professor Mark Stevenson said:

Professor Mark Stevenson“We are confronted by significant global health challenges in the 21st century, which are prompting calls to rethink how we deliver key urban systems. This is particularly the situation when dealing with the transport system. Our transport futures will rely on new initiatives such as micromobility. I welcome the MRP; a partnership that will support independent, robust research and provide the important insights necessary for transport planning and policy decisions now and into the future.”

Associate Professor Doug Wilson and Associate Professor Yun Sing Koh said:

"This partnership provides a genuine opportunity for research collaboration and advancing state-of-the-art research to promote and extend sustainable transport whilst minimising transport-related emissions and building environmental resilience. To quickly transition to a low / zero emission transport system requires strong leadership that enables effective collaboration of communities, agencies and industry to turn sustainable mobility visions into action. Business as usual’ will be seen by future generations as a failure, meaning that we will have missed opportunities to improve both social and environmental sustainability outcomes at a time of unprecedented technology uncertainty and change. Decisions on infrastructure and technology adoption must be evidence based to ensure preferred future options are realised. The safe trialing of new micro-mobility technologies (e.g. Beam) that serve short to medium length trips or first and last kilometre mobility requires the appropriate trialing, data monitoring, analytics and evaluation of user behaviours. A partnership between researchers, agencies, communities of users and industry will help us to together ensure better outcomes and enable evidence-based policy and the appropriate regulatory systems are put in place to manage these systems’. The Transportation Research Centre (TRC) of the University of Auckland is looking forward to working within the MRP to help meet transport mobility, access and community sustainability imperatives.”

The MRP will conduct research on sustainable transport to identify and promote priority pathways to reduce global transport emissions, and other topics.

The MRP will conduct collaborative research with academic institutions, automotive consumer associations, NGO and professional advisory firms on sustainable transport, in order to identify and promote priority science based pathways to reduce global transport emissions and other topics aligned to contribute to UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG)

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