2018 Shared Motorized Foot Scooter Pilot
In July of 2018, Bird and Lime each launched shared motorized foot scooter systems in the City of Minneapolis, operating under draft regulations. Thereafter, the City Council approved terms for an application and license agreement to authorize a 4-month Shared Motorized Foot Scooter Pilot from August through November of 2018. This pilot was intended to allow Public Works to evaluate and understand shared scooter operations’ impact on the following:
- Accessibility/pedestrian interaction
- User operational and parking behavior
- Infrastructure implications
- Equitable access
- Service area
- Pricing and operational barriers
- Mode choice
- Viable alternative or novelty
- Long term path forward
- How to re-introduce in 2019
After receiving and approving applications for Lime and Bird, the City entered into agreements with each of the companies to move forward as participants in the 2018 pilot. The pilot began with 200 scooters total on August 6th, and included increases in September (to 300 scooters total), and October to get to the final total of 400 scooters. The University of Minnesota also established its own pilot with Bird and Lime in September, beginning with 100 scooters total in September, increasing to 200 scooters total at the end of October. Both pilots ended on November 30th.
Understanding that gathering good data in a responsible manner was key to evaluating the pilot, Public Works quickly established a strong collaboration with the City’s IT department’s Data and Analytics team and the City Clerk’s office. All data accessed in support of the 2018 pilot was handled in accordance with City of Minneapolis policy. Working with both Bird and Lime, a connection was established to allow IT access to vehicle and trip data that was being reported from individual scooters. No personally identifiable information was obtained through this approach, and an anonymization protocol for trip data was established to further protect users’ privacy. Public Works and IT developed dashboards for monitoring compliance, as well as planning and analysis. The compliance dashboard was used to monitor the number of scooters and where they were distributed in the City. The planning and analysis dashboard has been used to analyze trip data and evaluate the pilot based on previously mentioned impacts, and inform decision making for re-introduction in 2019. This analysis, combined with data from a user survey facilitated in November by both companies, enables further understanding of user demographics and behavior.
Included below are some key points from analysis of the 2018 pilot:
Usage Data (July – November)
Usage data was gathered through an interface established directly with each company, which allowed the City access to vehicle details such as operational status and maintenance activities, as well as trip coordinates, which were aggregated and anonymized prior to any storage or analysis.
- 243,587 total rides
- 1,703 rides/day
- 1.25 mi/ride, 14.85 min/ride
- 74,877 unique users
- 87% of city streets were ridden on
Data was gathered through a survey developed by the City and distributed by both companies to those who signed up and took at least one ride during the 2018 pilot. Survey questions were distributed to the 74,877 unique users with 987 responses, or about 1.3% response rate, which represents a statistically significant sample size.
- 61% of respondents live in Minneapolis, 25% of respondents live in greater Twin Cities
- 62% of respondents used multiple times per month, and of those 19% used multiple times per week
- 7% of responses stated use of public transit, walking or biking increased with access to scooters
- 42% of responses stated use of personal vehicles, TNCs, or taxis decreased with access to scooters
- 80% responded that they were either satisfied or very satisfied with scooter companies
Complaint data was received primarily through 311, initially via direct phone call or email, then through 311’s queuing system starting in mid-August. Some complaints were also received directly through Council Member offices.
- 47 parking complaints
- 34 riding complaints
- 4 damaged/broken scooter complaints
- 4 reported crashes (1 car, 2 ped, 1 bike), no severe injuries reported
Public Works has evaluated the 2018 pilot against City goals and is recommending renewing and extending the pilot in 2019 with some adaptations based on observation and analysis from the 2018 pilot.
Actions and Agreements
Public Works recommends renewing and extending the pilot through March 31, 2020. The goal of the extended pilot is to adapt based on what was learned in 2018, determine how to best position scooters long-term as a viable transportation option for all in Minneapolis, and ensure alignment with the work of the Transportation Action Plan goals.
Equity will be a key priority in 2019, by expanding access to scooters through increased fleet size and distribution, and alternatives to access for those without smartphone or credit card. It was clear from 2018 that while scooters could be an equitable transportation option, the availability and geographic distribution of scooters did not support equitable access. Distribution requirements, including Areas of Concentrated Poverty, are a strong focus in the proposal for 2019. Emphasis will also be placed on neighborhood level advocacy and engagement, in support of broader distribution of scooters and required low-income pricing and alternative access options.
Safety will also be a primary focus, as well as maintaining accessibility within the right-of-way for all in Minneapolis. In analysis and observation of the 2018 pilot, it was clear that additional communication was needed about scooter regulations, as well as how to report feedback regarding parking and riding behavior. Additionally, it was clear that dedicated day-to-day monitoring of the pilot was necessary, including both data dashboards as well as real-world observation. The 2019 proposal would address those needs by requiring local education and outreach regarding appropriate use of scooters, as well as enable additional oversight and regulation of safety and accessibility as it relates to scooter use.
The structure of the extended pilot will be a modified version of the application and license agreement from the 2018 pilot, and the primary terms are:
- Establishes a pilot program to run through March 31, 2020 for shared scooter operations in City right of way. Public Works Director retains discretion to cease operations after November 30, 2019 based on weather conditions.
- Keeps ultimate discretion and control of right of way with the City.
- Incorporates an application for any interested vendors to be considered, with at least two (2) but no more than four (4) selected for participation in the pilot program. Selection to participate shall be the same as the 2018 pilot, based on the content of the vendor's application and evaluated for alignment with work of the Transportation Action Plan.
- Application shall explicitly address necessary adaptations based on what was learned from the 2018 pilot, including the following:
- Pricing and Access Structure
- Low-income pricing and alternative access options
- Scooter Availability and Distribution
- Distribution plan which enables broader access and compliance with distribution requirements
- Safe Riding and Parking
- Efforts to address inappropriate use and sidewalk riding
- Local Education and Outreach Commitment
- Low-income pricing and alternative access options
- Safe and appropriate riding and parking behavior
- General awareness and how to report concerns
- Fleet, Marketing, and Customer Support
- Local hiring and labor plan
- Recharging and relocation logistics
- Maintenance and cleaning practices
- Marketing and customer support activities
- Experience, Qualifications, and References
- Proof of Insurance
- Public Works Director reserves the right to suspend or revoke any license at any time if it is determined that a licensee's users have failed to comply with applicable laws governing the operation and parking of scooters which may threaten public health and safety.
- Establishes minimum and maximum distribution requirements as follows:
- At least 30% distributed among Areas of Concentrated Poverty within Minneapolis, or a minimum of 600 scooters.
- Not more than 40% distributed throughout Downtown and surrounding neighborhoods, or a maximum of 800 scooters.
- Remaining 30% distributed in areas outside of those requirements above as proposed licensee’s approved application, or a maximum of 600 scooters.
- Based on distribution requirements above, establishes an initial maximum number of scooters allowed in City right-of-way of 2,000 scooters, to be divided evenly among licensees.
- Establishes ability for Public Works to increase or decrease the maximum number of scooters based on licensees’ meeting specified performance targets.
- Public Works Director reserves final discretion to approve all increases.
- Public Works Director reserves final discretion to decrease maximum number of scooters by individual licensee or in total, based on threat to public health and safety, or licensee’s failure to abide by other requirements of the agreement.
- Establishes a requirement for licensees to incorporate low-income pricing programs, and alternative access options for those without smartphones or credit card and/or bank accounts.
- Requires scooters to be self-locking, and parked upright using a kickstand when not in use, in a location which does not impede pedestrian path of travel or access to the following:
- Crosswalks and pedestrian ramps
- Property entrances/exits
- Loading zones
- Disability parking and transfer zones
- Transit stops
- Other street furnishings such as benches, parking meters, parklets, etc.
- Requires licensee to maintain responsibility for:
- Ongoing education, including in-person events, of users including how and where to ride, proper parking procedures, and low income and alternative access programs.
- All costs associated with enforcement and impoundment of scooters covered by the agreement.
- All scooter relocation and maintenance activities, including handling requests for relocation or unsafe scooters, and providing prompt service.
- Grants the City the authority to impound shared scooters based on improper parking, and sets the initial impoundment fee at $56 per scooter, with an $18 per day storage fee if not retrieved in the same day of impoundment.
- Impoundment fee is to offset the City's costs of impoundment, and will be evaluated after the pilot program to determine appropriate fee structure going forward, with possible applications for other shared modes such as bicycles.
- Includes robust user data privacy and protection requirements such as:
- Policies safeguarding user personal, financial, and travel information and usage including but not limited to trip start and end destination and routing.
- Licensee shall not make any users' personal data available to any third-party advertiser or other private entity, including those affiliated or owned jointly by licensee.
- Establish appropriate records retention term, both for trip data that the City is accessing as well as personal and trip data stored by licensees.
- Includes comprehensive and anonymized data sharing provisions for the purposes of monitoring compliance and evaluation of pilot program.
- Requires licensee to pay $100 per scooter, approximately $200,000 in total over the one (1) year pilot program. This is to offset a similar City expense for oversight and regulation of the pilot, and to support the development of infrastructure.
- City-standard general terms and conditions for professional services will apply.