Six months later, the results of a four-month trial could be good news for the shared electric scooter companies that want to prove their systems can deliver on promises to reduce congestion and pollution.
About 700,369 times and 801,887 miles were used during the trial, for a total of 2, 043 shared electric scooter, according to data released Tuesday by Portland's department of transportation. Thirty-four percent of residents and 48 percent of tourists use Shared electric scooters instead of private cars or taxis.
This study is our first in-depth insight at how scooters fit into urban transportation networks.
"This Shared electric scooter pilot demonstrates the potential of a small, light, electric, shared vehicle that can move passengers quickly and easily without increasing traffic in Portland," the U.S. department of transportation said in a press release."At the same time, the pilot shows that more work needs to be done in several areas before shared electric scooter can be safely and smoothly integrated into our urban fabric."
Notably, Portland has a larger network of bike lanes than most U.S. cities, and plans to add more protected lanes in the coming months. That could be good news for shared electric scooter companies, especially like Lyft. Lyft owns Portland's bike-sharing network and has publicly advocated making streets safer by expanding infrastructure like bike lanes.
But research shows that shared electric scooters companies face another more difficult problem: fair transportation.
Despite requiring operators to provide at least 100 scooters in eastern Portland and offering discounted fares to low-income Oregon residents, only 43 residents enrolled in the offerings.
"While many East Portlanders and Black Portlanders expressed enthusiasm for e-scooters, some focus group participants also expressed an overall concern for traffic safety and the risk that Black e-scooter riders would be targeted for racial profiling and harassment," the DOT said.
Lime, Bird and Skip were all allowed to participate in the trial, and Lime is pushing back on those requirements.
"That is not letting the market determine how many scooters should be anywhere," said Gabriel Scheer, Lime's director of strategic development, told the New York Times. "How do you unfetter us in a way that allows us to meet demand?"
Based on these results, the Portland government will launch a second pilot this year to collect more data and punish specific instances of violations with innovative solutions. Although it is illegal to ride shared electric scooter in a Portland park, two-thirds of people were unaware of the rules, according to the survey. The city government says this is a major management challenge for park workers.
Scooters will be back on the ground again in the early spring, the report said, when the department will "specifically focus its efforts on improving equitable access across the city and ensuring safe and legal riding and parking."
Lime said in a statement that it looks forward to participating in the second trial.
Reference: Business Insider
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