New Data On Shared Micromobility Shows Growth Of E-Scooters, Success Of Large Cities

Shared Micromobility has grown and changed significantly in the last decade. According to data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, fewer than 80 cities in the United States had a shared micromobility system in 2015 and all systems included docked bikes. Now, their recently released data shows more than 200 cities with a shared micromobility system and dockless e-scooters are the most common system type.

Generally speaking micromobility refers to personal mobility devices that are low speed and small in size. Increasingly, micromobility is motorized using electric motors which provide power that assists a person pedaling a bicycle or provides power based on throttle inputs. Shared micromobility systems make micromobility devices available to the public for short-term rentals.

Two recent data releases provide context on the state of micromobility in the United States.

Data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) provide a wealth of sortable data from 2015-2023 that can be used to understand shared micromobility over time. The Benchmarking Project uses this data to report on the existence of dockless bikeshare, docked bikeshare, and scooter share systems in the 76 cities included in the Benchmarking Project in Table 3.7.1

BTS data shows that shared micromobility as an industry has consolidated in recent years. Many docked bikeshare systems in large cities are owned and operated by Lyft after its acquisition of Motivate in 2018. Shared e-scooter systems, which have increased significantly since 2018, are primarily owned and operated by five companies. According to BTS data, as of 2023, only four companies offer dockless bikeshare systems in more than one city and the top five scooter operators account for over 90% of city systems.

Data from the North American Bike Share Association (NABSA) provide a variety of summary statistics and research highlighting the benefits and potential of shared micromobility. NABSA data includes a greater number of cities in the United States than BTS data, with 363 cities included.

Highlights of the NABSA report include:

  • The number of shared micromobility trips has increased since a dramatic reduction due to Covid in 2020 to meet the level of trips in 2019. While not a focus of NABSA’s report, many bikeshare systems in large American cities have reported record ridership in 2023, including New York City and Washington, DC.
  • Electrification is more prominent than ever, with 142 systems reporting the use of e-bikes and 265 systems reporting the use of e-scooters. According to NABSA, the number of e-bikes increased by 71% from 2021 to 2022 and the number of e-scooters grew by 28% during that time.
  • Shared bikes and shared scooters report similar average trip distances and minutes per trip. Both bikes and scooters had average trip distances of 1.3 miles per trip. Minutes per trip was slightly higher for bikes, with users averaging 15.5 minutes per shared bike trip and 13.8 minutes per shared scooter trip.
  • Connections to transit are an area of interest and integration, with 64% of shared micromobility riders reporting that they use shared micromobility to connect to transit.
  • According to NABSA, “North Americans gained almost 18.7 million hours of additional physical activity through shared micromobility creating new trips and replacing motorized trips.” 

With recent articles suggesting that Lyft is looking to exit the shared micromobility market, this data shows that shared micromobility continues to be a robust and dynamic sector offering transportation options to people in many American cities.