Phoenix’s electric scooter pilot program “shows hope”
Phoenix's electric scooter pilot program shows hope and challenge. The urban area plans to travel an average of 4,435 times per week. According to the data provided by the scooter company, the average journey is 1 mile and takes 7 minutes.
Traffic engineer Michael Cano, who manages the trial, says the technology can be tricky. Like other cities, Phoenix uses a technology called geofencing that works with the scooter's GPS to stop or slow it down when it is too fast or enters an unmanned area.
"Scooters can actually go beyond it a certain distance, so the challenge of where we should actually start these routes is even greater," he said.
Kano said there was a range of about 30 feet, and some of these scooters crossed the border or did not reach it. The city evaluates and adjusts routes based on company feedback and tests.
The program is co-launched with three companies that allow the deployment of scooters: Spin, Lime, and Bird. In the first week, Lime and Bird pulled the scooter away after parking some scooters in designated parking spaces. The scooter has returned and continues to operate in the urban area with Spin, but Bird has not resumed operations. According to a city report, Bird "now refers to the program's designated parking locations and nightly pickup requirements to decide not to redeploy scooters."
When developing the rules of the pilot program, the main problem was confusion. Kano said the regulations that set scooters in designated areas are paying off.
"For example, the feedback we got from our search company was that it was very clean compared to other cities where they worked, so there were no piles of random scooters on the sidewalk," he said.
The scooter must be deployed from the designated location. If the company is told that the motorcycle is not parked in the designated location, there will be two hours of movement time. If the company fails to remove the scooter during this period, the city or search company that has the contract with the city will pack it up and charge the company a $ 80 fee. Three months later, Phoenix reported 242 violations.
The top speed of the electric scooter is 15 miles per hour, it cannot be used on the sidewalk, and it must stop between Seventh Avenue and Seventh Street from McDowell to Buckeye Road.
Based on feedback and personal anecdotes, Cano said the plan "shows the prospects of the electric scooter market."
Within three months, the city council will evaluate the pilot plan and decide whether to keep the plan, cancel electric scooters or expand the plan.