Are E-scooters Here to Stay?

By L. Dennis Burns, CAPP

Mobility Lab has referred to 2018 as the Year of the Curb. One big reason for this was the rapid and broad emergence of dockless e-scooters. In the January 8 issue of Mobility Lab Express, Director Paul Mackie reflects on everything we know about scooters to predict their staying power—and highlights important questions for future research.

“The exploding popularity of scooters is reason enough to research them. Dockless bike-share systems barely started to be viewed as legitimate transit options in the public’s perception when, all of a sudden, scooters arrived and, in many cities, completely replaced dockless bikes almost overnight,” he writes.

“It’s difficult to predict whether scooters are here to stay. But not for lack of trying by transportation journalists. Scooters are still so new that the lack of research on their popularity makes their staying power a guessing game. As far back as July, Populus released a report finding that most people like dockless e-scooters—including women, who have a slightly more positive perception of them than men. But, besides that report, there’s little academic research on why scooters have taken cities across the country by storm.”

The article goes on to review the early success of Arlington, Va.’s scooter pilot program and explores other topic areas such as:

  • How many options are too many options?
  • Are shared scooters priced for optimal success?
  • Long-held perceptions need to change.
  • Transit will be the big winner if cities do scooters right.

Read the full story here.

L. Dennis Burns, CAPP, is regional vice president of Kimley-Horn.