The Introduction and Adoption of Electric Scooters in the United States

This report presents new findings on the introduction and adoption of new micro-mobility services, including electric scooters, in the United States based on analysis of Populus data from May to July 2018.

The study, which is based on a representative data sample of over 7,000 people in 10 major U.S. metropolitan areas reveals the following key findings:

  • A majority of people across the cities (70%) view electric scooters positively: they expand transportation options, enable a car-free lifestyle, are a convenient replacement for short trips in a personal vehicle or ride-hailing service (i.e. Uber or Lyft), and are a complement to public transit.
  • Adoption rates of electric scooters and many mobility services are accelerating faster than ever, due in part to the continued proliferation of GPS-enabled smartphones and greater diversity of transportation options in cities. 
  • While prior station-based, non-electric bikeshare services have predominantly been used by men by a factor of 2x to 3x, this new study suggests that electric scooters may enjoy more support and adoption by women. If U.S. cities can harness this new wave of interest in micro-mobility to improve bike and scooter infrastructure, they might make progress on closing the active transportation gender gap and improve safety for everyone.
  • This new data also suggests that dockless electric scooters may also enjoy higher adoption rates by lower-income groups and could potentially help cities make progress on equity goals. 
  • While a majority of people in San Francisco have a positive view of electric scooters (52%), San Francisco ranks lowest by a wide margin as compared with other cities - but it is an unusual outlier.
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At Populus, we believe that more frequent access to data and information can help both private and public transportation services work more seamlessly together. With information and transparency, the public sector can develop policies and plan infrastructure that better integrates private sector investments in urban mobility — improving transportation for everyone. Building on several decades of transportation expertise at MIT, UC Berkeley, and in the service of leading public agencies, the Populus team provides cities and private mobility operators with data and analytics to facilitate a safe, equitable, and efficient transition to the future of urban mobility.