In September of 2017, the District of Columbia (DC) Department of Transportation (DDOT) decided to implement a dockless shared micromobility pilot program in DC. DDOT did so under the belief that dockless micromobility vehicles, such as shared dockless bikes and shared dockless e-scooters, might improve mobility in DC. DDOT’s goal with this pilot program was to understand the potential advantages of dockless mobility services.
To that end, DDOT contracted with eight different micromobility providers to provision vehicles throughout DC. DDOT allowed each provider to operate 400 vehicles of their choosing. Some providers operated traditional pedal bikes, some operated e-scooters, and some operated e-bikes. DDOT then collected and analyzed data on how peopled used these vehicles to understand the challenges and opportunities associated with dockless shared mobility fleets.
Based on their experience DDOT found:
- The program showed promise, but there is not strong evidence different users are dockless vehicles compared to DC’s existing docked bike share systems
- Widespread parking violations were not common, but the ones that did occur were problematic. DDOT should institute programmatic changes to ensure better parking behavior by users and better management by operators.
- Dockless mobility is rapidly evolving. DDOT should continue to regularly survey residents and users alike to inform regulation of dockless vehicles.
- DDOT should identify staffing needs for continued operation of a dockless micromobility program.