The recent development of a new disruptive mobility model—privately owned dockless shared e-scooters and e-bikes — provides potential opportunities for a new sustainable transportation mode. Shared mobility services are typically enabled by technology or a mobile app with GPS-enabled scooters or bikes run by private companies. However, there is a need to regulate and manage this new type of business. The City of Santa Monica designed and launched a 16-month pilot program in 2018 to test shared electric scooters and bikes operated by multiple private companies using a flexible approach that could be responsive to community needs, technological advancements, and a nascent and evolving industry. For the Pilot, four shared mobility service providers maintained a total fleet of 2,500 devices (including 2,000 e-scooters and 500 e-bikes). The performance of the system was evaluated over the first year of the pilot project.
Standardized data was collected between October 2018 and September 2019 from service providers regarding operations and ridership, and the City of Santa Monica developed data management and analysis systems to track ridership and operations. In addition, a survey study collected data on the use of shared mobility with 4,260 riders surveyed.
- Study participants used shared mobility to access many destinations. About 29 percent of the shared mobility trips were for short work-related trips, 26 percent for recreation, 14 percent for eating out, 11 percent to get to/from home, and 8 percent for shopping.
- The survey results showed that 49 percent of the trips displaced drive alone and ride-hail trips and 39 percent displaced walking trips. This displacement in trips resulted in a reduction of generated greenhouse gases by providing options other than cars.
- The Santa Monica Police Department found that the shared mobility device crash rate was roughly 0.015 per 1,000 trips and that crash rates declined over the duration of the Pilot, with collisions decreasing 29 percent from summer 2018 to 2019.
Moving forward, the city of Santa Monica is considering strategies that address equity and access, public right-of-way management, rider behavior, design and maintenance, effective management, evolving industry trends, and sustainability.