New figures illustrate the growing popularity of shared micromobility in the US, with the number of trips on shared bikes and scooters more than doubling last year.
According to the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), 84 million trips were taken on shared micromobility in US cities in 2018. This includes 36.5 million trips on station-based bike share, 9 million trips on dockless shared bikes, and 38.5 million trips on shared scooters.
Notably, dockless pedal bikes have largely disappeared from most US cities and many of them have been replaced by shared scooters. Approximately 44,000 dockless bicycles were on the ground in the US at the end of 2017, most of which are no longer in use. Most dockless bike share companies switched their focus to e-scooters, and new e-scooter-focused companies emerged.
E-bikes, although limited in rollout, have also proved popular. Among all shared micromobility vehicles, e-bikes have the most use (as measured by rides/vehicle/day) and are used twice as frequently as pedal bikes. Responding to this trend, many bike share companies have plans to rapidly expand their e-bike fleets. New York City is planning for a fleet that is a third electric, and Minneapolis intends to transition entirely to an e-bike-based fleet from pedal bikes.
The biggest demand for station-based bike share is seen during traditional rush hours. In contrast, scooter share rides are more evenly dispersed throughout the day, with the highest ridership on Fridays and weekends. This suggests that people are using bike share and scooter share for different trip types, NACTO said.
“Shared micromobility has the opportunity to be a game-changer for those without the means, ability or desire to maintain a private vehicle,” commented Nicole Payne, programme manager at NACTO. “When cities, system operators and communities plan together, cities can ensure the best outcomes for their residents: providing truly reliable, affordable and easy-to-access transportation, expanding access to opportunity.”