Recent data released by Transport for London (TfL) has shed light on the impact of rental e-scooters on urban mobility. The data, covering the period from June 2021 to November 2022, revealed that out of 2.5 million rental e-scooter trips, 93.5% would have otherwise been completed by walking, cycling, or public transport.
Although only 6.5% of e-scooter trips replaced a car, taxi or private hire vehicle journey, 32% of e-scooter users combined their rides with public transport, leading to a reduction of over 249 tonnes of CO2 emissions. While the report indicated that the rest of the e-scooter trips would have otherwise been accomplished by walking, cycling or public transport, a detailed breakdown of the 93.5% figure was not available, according to a TfL spokesperson.
James Cleeton, London Director of active travel charity Sustrans, commended the e-scooter trials' potential to alleviate congestion and enhance air quality. However, he also noted the need for local authorities to prioritise measures that encourage walking, cycling, and other forms of active travel. While e-scooters offer a legal means of personal transport on public roads and spaces in the UK, it's evident that their utilisation can have positive effects on urban congestion and emissions. London's e-scooter trials have expanded since their launch in June 2021, now encompassing ten of the city's 32 boroughs, with over 5,000 e-scooters available for rent.
The data unveiled an average e-scooter journey time of 17 minutes, covering an average distance of 2.5 kilometres. These statistics suggest that most riders use e-scooters for short trips, particularly for the "last mile" between rail/tube stations and bus stops. The report also detailed their safety record, with fewer than 0.01% of trips resulting in serious injuries. Notably, there have been no fatalities, with the three operators involved - Dott, Lime, and TIER - reporting 22 serious injuries during the trial period.
An additional positive outcome emerged in terms of compliance with parking rules, as more than 95% of trips adhered to these regulations during the trial's initial phase.
Original article published on the Cities today website on 5 July 2023.
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