E-scooter rental will be available in London from spring 2021, thanks to a new trial announced this week. Transport for London (TfL), London Councils and London's boroughs are working together on plans for a trial of rental e-scooters in the capital. This trial aims to promote safety standards and develop a better understanding of the impact of this emerging mode of transport on London's roads. A tender has been launched, open to all e-scooter operators. Up to three will be selected to take part in the 12-month trial, which is due to start in spring 2021.
In order for the e-scooter trial to be successful, Boroughs need to provide hundreds of new parking bays for e-scooters. Parking is crucial to the success of any hub based micromobility operation and accommodates the needs of all stakeholders, when delivered at scale. Riders get a convenient service, non-riders are not impacted by clutter, authorities can design parking into the urban infrastructure, and operators can work more efficiently when vehicles are corralled.
Working together, TfL, London Councils and the Boroughs will co-ordinate a trial in the capital, promoting safe and consistent standards across a defined, geographically limited trial area on London's streets. All boroughs will be able to be involved in the trial, which is likely to be the largest in the UK and will provide valuable data to understand the impact of these vehicles on the way people travel around the capital.
Around one third of London's boroughs have expressed their intention to join the trial initially, with more considering joining at a later stage. Boroughs will control parking locations for e-scooters to protect against street clutter, and will be able to designate certain areas as 'no-go'.
E-scooter operator Dott is one of the companies with its 'sights set on London'. When discussing the future of parking in London, Dott’s Co-founder Maxim Romain stated: 'Our journey doesn’t stop when you arrive at your destination...our commitment to people and the planet means that we care about where our vehicles are at all times. That’s why we’re making sure that our e-scooter trips end in a designated bay’.
A post published by Zag outlines a Dott study investigating how Paris boosted parking compliance to 97% – and how pairing e-scooters with public transport would reach 98% of inner London.
The Dott report showcases how Paris has mastered parking compliance successfully, and how important it is to bring these learnings from Paris to London.
The report states:
Nearly 90% of riders would be comfortable walking two minutes to pick up a scooter, but nearly half (46%) wouldn’t walk more than two minutes.
Between Spring 2019 and Autumn 2020, riders who completed their trips in allocated parking spots jumped from 35% to 97% (according to Dott’s data).
97.63% of inner London and 77.96% of Outer London can be reached from a rail or tube station with a 10min e-scooter journey.
Widespread concerns around pedestrian safety will force users to end their trip in dedicated parking bays enforced by Dott-owned technology.
Smart parking technologies like the one Dott has developed for Paris prevent users from parking outside of dedicated bays. Every user needs to take a photo of their parked vehicle at the end of their ride. Behind the scene, Dott checks the GPS data, the photo, recent data about parking in these hubs and evaluates whether the scooter is properly parked or not.
Technologies like these in combination with a dense network of dedicated scooter parking bays might indeed be a solution to mitigate safety concerns of badly parked vehicles.
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