Voting with their Feet, People Have Made Shared Scooters the Runaway Hit of Urban Mobility

Last year, data published by NACTO — the organization representing U.S. city transportation officials — showed that in just their first year on city streets, dockless scooters had surpassed docked bikeshare in popularity.

Fast forward a year, and today NACTO released updated statistics for 2019. The scooter numbers are eye-popping:

  • U.S. shared scooter ridership increased 129% year over year
  • Riders have made dockless scooters and bikes more than twice as popular as docked bikeshare
  • Shared scooters grew from 46% of all micromobility trips in 2018 to 65% of all trips in 2019
  • In just two years, the introduction of shared scooters has more than tripled the total number of annual micromobility trips
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NACTO: Shared Micromobility Ridership Growth 2010–2019

Scooters have also made micromobility more accessible to cities regardless of their size. The report also found that while 87% of all docked bikeshare trips occurred in just 6 major cities, shared scooter ridership is more distributed across cities — with only 38% of all trips in the top 6 cities:

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NACTO: Docked Bikeshare vs. Scooter Ridership in 2019

NACTO’s analysis shows that shared scooters (bottom) are more broadly available across the U.S. compared to docked bikeshare (top):

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NACTO: Docked Bikeshare Vs. Dockless Scooter System Sizes

And shared scooters and bikes give city residents a compelling alternative to cars. The study found that nearly half of all dockless bike and scooter trips would have otherwise been taken by car — which means less traffic congestion and emissions; better movement of people and goods; and improved traffic safety.

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NACTO: Mode Shift Among Scooter Riders

So what can city officials take away from this data?

First, the data shows that dockless scooters and bikes are helping solve some of cities’ most pressing problems:

City officials want to reduce car traffic and emissions. Dockless scooters and bikes are successfully replacing car trips because they’re available when and where people need them.

City officials want to make micromobility more widely available. Dockless scooters and bikes are more distributed across cities than docked bikeshare and receive more total rides.

And today, city officials want to discourage COVID-wary commuters from reverting to driving single-occupancy vehicles. Dockless scooters and bikes are socially distant, open-air, single-user alternatives that cities can promote through smart regulation.

More broadly, the data shows that people are making e-scooters the runaway hit of urban mobility — by far the fastest growing and most popular alternative to cars that we’ve seen in decades. People are voting with their feet to make dockless scooters and bikes a promising solution to cities’ challenges.

Written by

Policy + government + tech + campaigns. Lead Lime’s North America & Asia Pacific Government Relations & Public Affairs team. Google alum.

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