The City of Chicago Offers Key Lessons Learned from the City’s Analysis and Experience Managing an E-Scooter Pilot.

A Pilot Program in the City of Chicago Tests E-Scooters with a Total Fleet of 2,500 Devices and Ten Service Providers.

Date Posted

E-Scooter Pilot Evaluation

Summary Information

To evaluate whether e-scooters can provide a sustainable, safe, and equitable transportation method for residents, the City of Chicago hosted a 5-month shared E-Scooter Pilot Program from June 15, 2019, to October 15, 2019. The objective was to analyze the performance of e-scooters in conjunction with riders’ characteristics and behaviors. For the Pilot Program, ten companies were permitted to operate 250 e-scooters each within a specified area on the northwest and west sides of the city.

The City of Chicago collected data by conducting an online survey that garnered 12,446 respondents. From the ten companies, 821,615 e-scooter trips were reported, and 407,296 trips were used to assess e-scooter use over the pilot period. The following are the lessons learned from the pilot program and the survey.

Accessibility, Parking, and Impacts on Public Transportation

  • Potential future programs need to be more prescriptive to facilitate access for riders who do not have bank accounts or smartphones.
  • Resources need to be deployed to address improperly parked e-scooters that can create potential barriers on the sidewalks and tripping hazards.


Enforcement, Operations, Data Limitations

  • The number of e-scooter pilot participant’ companies should be limited to prevent challenges associated with enforcement and operations.  
  • Companies should be conservative in initial estimates for the number of e-scooters needed to prevent large numbers of idle e-scooters.
  • Utilize fleet size caps and limit operation hours to prevent e-scooter pile ups that can block sidewalks and other paths of travel and to provide a window to remove scooters from the streets.
  • Removing e-scooters from the streets at night can minimize impaired riding, however, nightly collection can be costly and has a large carbon footprint associated with it.
  • Data provision and standards are an absolute necessity.


Educating the Public, Employment Opportunities, and Technological Needs

  • More education should be conducted to introduce e-scooters to residents and increase public safety and accessibility.
  • Companies should be cognizant of e-scooters with dead batteries that can cause challenges for enforcement since such e-scooters cannot be tracked.
  • Limiting e-scooter speeds may help with compliance of e-scooters not being ridden in restricted access areas.
  • Instructions for the end-of-ride photo of the scooter correctly parked need to be as clear as possible to ensure that the photo data properly identifies the parking location.

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