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U.S. Scooter Ridership Surged in 2019. Now What?

A new report from the National Association of City Transportation Officials shows big gains for e-scooters before the pandemic — and signs that the micromobility boom could go on. 

Washington, D.C., has been an enthusiastic adopter of two major forms of shared micromobility: e-scooters and docked bikeshare. 

Washington, D.C., has been an enthusiastic adopter of two major forms of shared micromobility: e-scooters and docked bikeshare. 

Photographer: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg

Last year, when the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) released its annual report on shared micromobility services, the message was clear: The dorky-looking electric scooters that had appeared on the streets of American cities over the course 2018 were more than glorified children’s toys. The battery-boosted rentable vehicles were a serious urban transportation technology that racked up more than 38 million trips — a healthy chunk of the 84 million total trips that traditional docked bikeshare programs and less-traditional dockless services tallied.

Now NACTO is releasing its 2019 Shared Micromobility Report, which shows scooter ridership continuing its growth trajectory, and large bikeshare systems expanding usage at a healthy clip. American cities played host to 136 million shared micromobility trips in 2019, including station-based bikeshare, dockless bikeshare and shared e-scooters. To put those numbers in perspective: Two thirds of all shared micromobility trips since 2010 have been made in the last two years. 2019’s shared micromobility ridership alone would be the equivalent of the fifth-busiest subway or light rail system in the country.