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E-Scooters Are Best for Short Trips to Transit, Shops: Study - Streetsblog

Maybe the New York City Department of Transportation got it right?

A new study of the scooter-share program in Washington, D.C. suggests that customers mostly want to hop on a shared tw0-wheeler to get to transit stops or to commercial areas — which seems to be the goal of the DOT when it selected a large “two-fare” zone of The Bronx as the testing ground for scooter-share last month.

A team of researchers at Florida Atlantic University and the University of Florida that analyzed a massive trove of trip data from the nation’s capital found “a strong correlation between scooter use and the presence of all transit stop types,” said the study, which was published late last month in the journal Transportation Research. “Metro stations, circulator stops, streetcar stops, and bus stops show a positive association with scooter destinations” even when accounting for Washington’s large number of tourists gravitating to key attractions.

“The fact that transit stops are still significant after controlling for these other destination types suggests that the stops themselves are likely attractor for scooter trip destinations,” the study added.

Study co-author Louis Merlin later suggested that his group’s findings show that it’s likely The Bronx pilot program will be extremely useful to residents there.

“There does appear to be a complementary affect with public transit, i.e. people using scooters for first-mile and last-mile trips to public transit,” he to Streetsblog. “Commercial areas were also attractions for scooter trip destinations.”

Such a finding suggests that the DOT did the right thing by creating the first scooter-share zone in the north Bronx, an area with some tourist attractions, certainly, but mostly in need of better and faster connections to transit. The Phase I zone (pictured at right) has many north-south subway options, but crosstown transit users have to rely on buses that are often stuck in traffic caused by car drivers.

The study also offered some tips for the DOT as it fine-tunes the scooter-share rules in advance of the expected launch (next month? When? DOT has not said):

  • Lesson 1: Have lots of scooters! “Unsurprisingly, the availability of scooters on a segment over a day is the best predictor of scooter trip origins,” the study said. (The DOT pilot program announcement suggests that there will be 2,000 to 3,000 scooters deployed — though it’s anyone’s guess if that’s “enough.”)


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