In cities with scooter-sharing schemes, open data policies benefit users and providers, as well as the cities themselves, according to a new analysis.
Urban mobility app provider Transit analysed the last six months of scooter data from Washington, DC, to gain insights into how people use dockless scooters.
Its report found that there’s plenty of room for scooter usage to grow, but one factor preventing the service from reaching its full potential is “download fatigue”. Even though there are multiple operators, all with different availability/pricing, half of dockless scooter riders only have one dockless app installed. About a quarter have two. An eighth have three… in other words, for every dockless app you download, you’re about half as likely to download one more.
This makes it hard to find the scooter that’s actually closest.
Transit’s analysis revealed that when a user has one operator’s app, they have a 30% chance of finding a nearby scooter. But when they can see all the scooters from all the fleets, those odds double – without needing any more scooters on the streets.
In cities with open data policies, where riders can see all their scooter options at once, scooters are a more reliable option for daily commuting. This approach also allows smaller mobility companies to compete with those that are larger and more well known.
“By requiring real-time open data, and encouraging open booking and payments, cities could instantly get a more vibrant, connected and competitive micromobility market,” Transit said.
Without open data, Transit predicts a continuation of the same type of behaviour: among riders, an aversion to downloading lots of mobility apps, and among mobility operators, a lion’s share of the market going to one or two early-movers who are chosen as the rider’s first download.