One-third of scooter rides replaced a car trip

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DENVER (KDVR) — It only took seven months to knock half a million car miles off Denver streets.

Intercept and online surveys findings conducted from July 2018 through March 2019 point to successes with the dockless scooters more and more familiar to Denver over the last three years, though most people who don’t ride them still say they don’t like them.

Heather Burke, a spokeswoman for the Denver Office of Transportation and Infrastructure, said the pilot study conducted from July 2018 through March 2019 is good news.

“Our goal is to provide people with other choices for getting around,” said Burke. “This was successful in giving people another option for maybe getting to that bus stop or the light rail and feel comfortable making that choice.”

Scooters are part of an attack on several issues, among them the carbon output, safety and congestion of city streets through single occupancy car rides.

The city, simply, wants people not to drive their cars as much as they currently do.

According to DOTI, 73% of automobile trips only involve one passenger. The city is trying to reduce that to 50% by encouraging “multimodal transit” – essentially anything that doesn’t involve getting behind a wheel.

More of the scooters replaced foot traffic than burning rubber, but still cut a sizable chunk of automobile miles.

Scooters replaced walking more than other types of a travel – unsurprising considering the program’s goals and the average distance of 1.2 miles traveled on a scooter per trip.

Just under half of scooter trips replaced a walk. Another 8% replaced a ride on a personal bicycle.

Just under a third, however, replaced some kind of single-occupancy car trip, though the majority were not personal vehicles but commercial city transportation competition.

Twenty percent of scooter rides replaced taxi, Uber or Lyft rides, while 10% replaced personal car trips. One percent of scooters would have hitched a ride in someone else’s personal automobile.

In mileage and emissions terms, DOTI considers this a success.

In 2017, the city clocked 5.6 billion total travel miles. Assuming 30% of scooters dropped a car ride for the average 1.2 miles of travel, that means 570,000 scooter miles that would have been carbon-producing car trips – 208 metric tons of carbon dioxide, to be exact.

There is some connection to encouraging transit, as well.

According to intercept surveys, 13% of scooter riders rode it in connection to transit at least once a week. Another 20% scooted in connection to transit but less than once a week, while another 67% didn’t scoot in connection to public transit at all.

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