Motor City will study scooter use patterns, possibly set regulatory framework

The city of Detroit, in partnership with mobility-focused data firm Passport Inc. and California scooter company Lime, is launching a pilot program to study electric scooter use patterns.

The six-month pilot is designed to help the city determine where the scooters would be most useful to residents and visitors.

The use-pattern data is expected to help the city create a dynamic pricing model to incentivize distribution of scooters throughout the city, Passport said in a news release.

Detroit city officials will work and share information with officials from Charlotte, N.C., and Omaha, Neb., in potentially developing a nationwide regulatory framework for dealing with scooter distribution.

"Working with Passport, we can now gather insight on how our citizens are using these new forms of mobility and be more strategic about managing scooters using supply/demand economics," Mark de la Vergne, chief of mobility innovation for the city, said in a March 19 statement. "With this pilot program, we are now connected to a network of cities facing the same challenges and we can effectively work together to develop a new regulatory model that can be scaled nationally."

The dockless e-scooters arrived in Detroit last summer. Their entry into Detroit and other Michigan cities has spurred hot debate. Proponents laud the scooters as a mobility solution that's been a long time coming, while critics bemoan the dangers of having motorized vehicles zigzagging through pedestrian-heavy areas.

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