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Electric Scooters Aren’t a Transportation Revolution Yet

New data show a staggering rise in shared dockless e-scooter use nationwide. But commuting habits have seen little change since the dawn of micromobility.
Consider the e-scooter.
Consider the e-scooter.Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

From one standpoint, American cities are experiencing a transportation revolution with the rise of shared electric scooters and bikes. From another, the same old hierarchy hasn’t budged, with private automobiles dominating the road.

A new report by the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) sheds light on the first perspective, enumerating the phenomenal year in “micromobility” that was. In 2018, the number of rides Americans took via dockless scooters, bikes, and traditional bikeshare systems more than doubled from 2017, to 84 million trips.