More than double the number of trips were taken in 2018 than the year prior on shared micromobility, a fast-growing and rapidly-evolving form of transportation in the United States
The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), an association of 69 major North American cities, today released its annual comprehensive count of all shared micromobility (shared bike and e-scooter) trips in the United States.
Key findings from NACTO’s 2018 shared micromobility ridership report:
- More than twice as many trips—84 million—were taken on shared micromobility in the U.S. as compared to the year before. 36.5 million trips were taken on station-based bike share, an increase of 9% from 2017. 9 million trips were taken on dockless shared bikes. 38.5 million trips were taken on shared scooters, reflecting the wide proliferation of vehicles in many cities.
- Dockless pedal bikes have largely disappeared from most U.S. cities; in part replaced by shared scooters. Approximately 44,000 dockless pedal bikes were on the ground in the U.S. at the end of 2017, most of which are no longer in use. Most dockless bike share companies retooled their fleets to focus on e-scooters, and new e-scooter-focused companies emerged. There are now tens of thousands of e-scooters on the ground in U.S. cities.
- E-bikes, while limited in rollout, have been heavily used in the cities with substantial e-bike fleets. The shared micromobility vehicles with the most use (as measured by rides/vehicle/day) are e-bikes, used twice as frequently as pedal bikes. Many bike share companies have plans to rapidly expand their e-bike fleets, with Minneapolis planning to transition entirely to an e-bike-based fleet from pedal bikes, and New York City planning for a fleet that is a third electric.
- The largest bike share systems are more heavily utilized, on a per-bike basis, than smaller systems; scooter share systems have the opposite correlation. The largest bike share systems see their bikes utilized, on average, twice per day or more (including in winter months), and most of the smallest systems see their bikes utilized less than once per day. For scooters, initial data shows the inverse: the largest fleets of shared scooters were used less than once per day, and the smallest fleets of shared scooters were used more than four times per day. Bike share benefits from a network effect of a dense network of conveniently placed bikes over a large area; scooter share ridership does not yet seem to benefit from a network effect.
- Station-based bike share is most heavily utilized during traditional rush hours. Scooter share rides are more evenly dispersed throughout the day, with the highest ridership on Fridays and weekends. These findings suggest that people are using bike share and scooter share for different trip types, a finding reinforced by surveys in cities of bike share and scooter share users.
“With tens of millions of trips each year, shared micromobility continues to be a popular form of transportation,” said Corinne Kisner, Executive Director of NACTO. “Cities are proactively thinking about how to harness the incredible potential of these shared services in the public right-of-way. As stewards of the public realm, it is vital that cities retain authority over their streets. State legislators must ensure that cities have the ability to plan, regulate, and manage shared micromobility systems for safe, sustainable, and equitable outcomes.”
“Managing the many new shared vehicle types on city streets is a challenge,” said Kate Fillin-Yeh, Director of Strategy for NACTO. “The data cities receive from vendors can be spotty, complicating efforts to regulate systems or make good policies. Much of the equipment is new and largely untested at scale, and the market is changing rapidly, with an uncertain financial outlook. The most successful shared micromobility systems have been planned hand-in-hand with cities, and we’re excited to help cities create and support transportation options that shift more trips to sustainable, safe modes.”
“Shared micromobility has the opportunity to be a game-changer for those without the means, ability, or desire to maintain a private vehicle,” said Nicole Payne, Program Manager at NACTO. “When cities, system operators, and communities plan together, cities can ensure the best outcomes for their residents: providing truly reliable, affordable, and easy-to-access transportation, expanding access to opportunity.”
“Bike share in New York City has been a major success, helping make cycling our fastest-growing mode of travel,” said New York City Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “At the same time, we believe bike share’s growth has also helped contribute to our Vision Zero goals, as last year, the safest ever on New York City streets, also saw the fewest-ever cyclist fatalities. We always appreciate NACTO’s take on the lightning-fast trends in shared micromobility, and New York City will try to remain nimble in 2019 as we grow the Citi Bike system, which accounts for nearly half the nation’s bike-share rides. Simultaneously, we plan this year to expand our dockless bike share pilot, which we began last year.”
“Year after year, bike share proves itself to be a force to reckoned with in the mobility landscape,” said Waffiyyah Murray, Better Bike Share Partnership Program Manager, City of Philadelphia. “From reducing financial barriers as an affordable option for regular users, to addressing difficult commutes by ensuring seamless transition to mass transit, bike share continues to serve as a model for what equitable transportation systems should look like. With the popular emergence of scooter share, we look forward to the onset of work of dismantling barriers to equitable mobility in this new space and meeting the needs of underserved communities nationwide.”
“We are proud of the progress we have made toward our Go Boston 2030 goal for bike share,” said Vineet Gupta, Director of Policy and Planning, Boston Transportation Department. “With last year’s expansion, approximately 85% of our residents can now walk to a public bike share station in 5-7 minutes, which means that they have a reliable, low-cost option for reaching jobs, educational opportunities, and open space. Making sure our residents can choose to bike is a major city goal, and we are coupling bike share expansion with the acceleration of our bike network build-out.”
“Santa Monica is a launching pad for new shared micromobility systems, said Francie Stefan, Acting Chief Mobility Officer for the City of Santa Monica. “We took our lessons learned from operating one of the country’s first smart bike share programs, Breeze, to thoughtfully balance demand, public safety, and shared use of the public right-of-way. E-scooters fulfill a demand for short, quick trips and were quickly absorbed into the mobility ecosystem, and our values of innovation and sustainable transportation enabled us to incorporate them and craft our Shared Mobility Pilot Program, where we continue to learn and innovate.”
“The increasing popularity of shared micromobility trips is great news for cities and anyone who works on tackling the largest source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions—transportation,” said Lina Fedirko, Senior Program Associate, ClimateWorks Foundation. “Shared micromobility is one of the most energy and carbon-efficient modes of travel, and its rapid growth provides an opportunity to reduce emissions faster. This mode is also showing early promise of addressing last-mile connectivity gaps in cities, and enabling the reallocation of public space for shared and active mobility.”
NACTO’s report also details average trip duration, distances, and prices per ride, and includes comprehensive charts and graphs showing the growth of shared micromobility across the U.S., as well as the changing landscape of this fast-growing and rapidly-evolving form of transportation. NACTO’s 2018 shared micromobility ridership report was funded by the Better Bike Share Partnership and by ClimateWorks foundation.
Visit nacto.org/shared-micromobility-2018 for the full report, or download a printable version (pdf).
About the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO)
NACTO is an association of 80 major North American cities and transit agencies formed to exchange transportation ideas, insights, and practices and cooperatively approach national transportation issues. The organization’s mission is to build cities as places for people, with safe, sustainable, accessible, and equitable transportation choices that support a strong economy and vibrant quality of life.
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