Chicago’s second escooter try reveals drivers are shedding curiosity

This article was originally published by Christopher Carey on Cities today, the leading news platform for urban mobility and innovation reaching an international audience of city guides. For the latest updates, see Cities Today Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Youtubeor sign up for Cities Today News.

The second e-scooter test in Chicago was completed last week. In the city, the number of drivers decreased by 22% compared to the four-month test last year.

A total of 640,000 trips were offered between August 12 and December 12 by Bird, Lime and Spin, the three companies participating in the study.

During the first four-month pilot, which ran from June 15 to October 15 last year, drivers made 821,000 trips in an area one-fourth the size and with a quarter of the equipment provided in the 2020 pilot Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT).

Sara Dodrill, communications manager, said of the drop in numbers, Spin said Cities Today: “The pandemic resulted in multiple stay-at-home orders across Chicago during 2020. As a result, the use of transport in all modes of transport, not just e-scooters, declined.

“Another key difference between the 2019 pilot and the 2020 pilot is the time of year the pilot was run. The 2019 pilot was carried out during the high season for e-scooter transit from mid-June to mid-October. The 2020 pilot was postponed due to the pandemic and missed two of our months with the highest number of drivers. “

In addition, CDOT expanded its Divvy Bike program in the Far South Side district in August with the introduction of 3,000 new e-bikes.

[Read: Meet the 4 scale-ups using data to save the planet]

Despite the reduction in numbers, the city said, changes in the second pilot have reduced the clutter on the sidewalk caused by improper parking, decreased the number of complaints from local residents, and reduced access to shared e-scooters in priority justice areas improved on the south and west sides.

The average travel time was also longer and increased by 14% compared to the previous year. The city is now seeking feedback from members of the public about a Online survey that runs until January 7th.

“Now that the second pilot is out, we invite the public to share their feedback and help us evaluate whether e-scooters make sense as an integral part of Chicago’s transportation system,” said Gia Biagi, CDOT commissioner.

“We want to hear from everyone whether they are scooter riders or not. It is important that we incorporate decisions from across the city into our decisions in the future. “


One of the main questions that the city wanted to investigate as part of the 2020 pilot project was whether e-scooters can effectively improve the mobility of residents who are faced with economic, health, mobility or access barriers. Officials said these issues were given added weight due to the transportation challenges of the COVID-19 crisis.

The city has designated an equity priority area that spans large parts of the south and west sides. Every e-scooter provider must provide 50% of their devices in priority areas every day.

Preliminary data showed that an average of 52% of all devices were provisioned in the territories, and each vendor’s average daily provisioning actually exceeded requirements.

This was in stark contrast to supplier compliance in 2019, when companies only used 36% of e-scooters in priority zones.

A total of almost 160,000 trips – around a quarter of the trips – took place in the equity priority area on the south and west sides.

Compliance with parking regulations

Another goal of the 2020 pilot project was to reduce the improper parking of e-scooters on sidewalks, with special consideration of a safe travel route for residents with disabilities.

To meet the challenge, Chicago had to lock all e-scooters and secure them to a solid object to end a ride.

Initial feedback from stakeholders and data showed that compliance with parking regulations for e-scooters has improved significantly in the 2020 pilot, with the number of complaints per day and device falling by 79 percent compared to 2019.

“We are encouraged by the preliminary data we have received from the second pilot,” said Rosa Escareño, Commissioner for Economic Affairs and Consumer Protection.

“This pilot has been carefully and carefully designed to test this new mobility option. We will now work with stakeholders to thoroughly examine the data and evaluate whether e-scooters make sense for Chicago over the long term.”

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Published on January 8, 2021 – 09:04 UTC

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