Scooters have invaded the sidewalks of so many cities and they’ve become an integral part of a growing ecosystem known as micromobility. Scooters don’t fall under the same category as a Moped, who has had decades of laws to determine where you can drive and park them.
This chaos in our pedestrian walkways happened so suddenly that it makes you wonder if the trend could end up like bike sharing in China. Failures piling up in junkyards while we figure out what works, which will last and if something else will emerge to replace them.
The upside is that micromobility is helping cities move towards better transportation planning. Dockless scooters are demonstrating that supplementing transportation networks with more car-based services won’t actually improve transportation. The demise of Chariot is proof that separate services that are not integrated are doomed to failure.
Cities have to seriously rethink how they design for multiple forms of movement in limited spaces. We are starting to see serious conversations around designing roads as spaces where fast, medium, and slow speeds can peacefully coexist (rather than just a place for cars or buses).
Many cities have already started implementing parking for dockless vehicles, or as they are affectionately called Scooter corrals. Santa Monica in Los Angeles is featured above.
No, this isn't Amsterdam or Copenhagen.
This is @ArlingtonVA, with one of its new dockless-vehicle parking corrals. The photo is a model of efficiency!
— Mobility Lab (@MobilityLabTeam) December 21, 2018
Being alive in 2019 also means that the Internet of Things has provided us with an abundance of scooter data to make informed decisions about changing street design. The irony is that bicycles have been around a lot longer than cars and they haven’t succeeded at shifting the paradigm.
What does 2019 bring for Scooters?
This might be the Year of the Curb. All of the dockless vehicles will stop littering our sidewalks and move to share curbside spaces with parking.
Scooters aren’t going anywhere in 2019, but we will see new ways that the spaces along the street gets divided. Rethinking street design is essential as overlapping of services will crowd the limited space in our urban centers.
Managing how the face of our cities change requires foresight. Developing a new way of perceiving mobility means that we have to stay ahead of change instead of reacting to it.