As industrialisation and urbanisation developed over the years, cars have mainly dominated the roads as a choice for fast and efficient personal transport. However, as more cities deal with increasing traffic congestion, population density, and pollution, micromobile solutions such as electric scooters and bicycles pave the way for a lighter and greener way to travel. As electric scooters in Australia, Europe, the US, and across the globe increase in demand, how will the rise of electric scooters affect the way people travel?
1. E-scooters will lessen the time spent travelling.
According to a report by the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 68 per cent of the global population will live in cities by 2050. As the population increases in an area, means of transportation will also increase. However, cars will become inconvenient and inefficient due to traffic congestion in highly-dense cities.
In fact, it took American citizens 24 seconds longer on the road in 2015. Meanwhile, the Household, Income, and Labour Dynamics in Australia reported that commuters spent 4.5 hours more per week on the road in 2017. This lost time adds up over time as traffic gets longer, causing a huge loss in productivity.
With electric scooters, commuters ride through traffic easily as electric scooters mainly ride on footpath or sidewalks. Unlike cars or public transport, commuters don’t have to sit and wait for traffic to move. E-scooter riders can also take alternative or shorter routes as electric scooters fit narrow streets or paths. Because of their efficiency, e-scooters are now being used by delivery services because of their time-saving benefits. Overall, electric scooters lessen commute time and promote productivity.
2. It offers a greener way to travel.
In the UK alone, road transportation makes up 28 per cent of the total carbon emissions. It is the highest carbon contributor among all sectors. Although many auto manufacturers have started to develop electric or hybrid-fuel cell cars, the majority of consumers currently can’t afford them. In comparison, electric scooters are more accessible and affordable to consumers, making it easy for commuters to travel in a greener way.
Since electric scooters don’t use fuel to run, it does not emit harmful gases into the air. As a result, it helps reduce the carbon in the atmosphere and ultimately, slow down global warming. Moreover, some manufacturers develop e-scooters using sustainable materials and processes. For example, Mearth electric scooters are made of aero-grade aluminium alloy which is a recyclable metal.
If more people can use e-scooters or other micromobile solutions, it could reduce carbon emissions in cities globally. Thankfully, more e-scooter ride-sharing options have also rolled out in major cities across the globe, making electric scooters more accessible to the public.
3. E-scooters provide a low-cost transport alternative.
Compared to owning a car or motorcycle, electric scooters are cheaper overall. For one, buying a car costs an average of $36,718 in the US, while decent electric scooters only cost around $350 to $500. Meanwhile, high-end e-scooters cost around $1000 to $1500, which is still significantly cheaper than a car. Moreover, cars also have added costs such as fuel, maintenance, and insurance. Electric scooters eliminate most of these, especially since e-scooters are generally low maintenance.
Ride-sharing options are also available for those who can’t afford to purchase their own unit. E-scooter ride-sharing services such as Lime and Bird provide affordable e-scooters that you can rent. Either way, e-scooters will provide city dwellers with an efficient and low-cost transport alternative.
4. It creates a more fun, convenient, and healthier travel experience.
Aside from efficiency, it will change the way people experience travel. Instead of sitting inside a car, electric scooters will offer a more fun and engaging way to ride. After all, riders stand up actively on the e-scooter as they navigate through the different types of paths and conditions of their environment. Although it may feel more vulnerable compared to being inside a car, it brings the rider closer to its environment, allowing them to experience the area better.
Moreover, the e-scooter’s small build and light weight mean that people can carry and ride it anywhere and anytime. It also eliminates the need to look and pay for parking spaces as e-scooters can be folded and kept under a desk or within a small space.
Lastly, e-scooters offer a healthier way to travel. Aside from its environmental impact, some e-scooter companies claim that riding electric scooters offer a low-intensity workout as it can help strengthen the core and legs. Although no research can confirm this yet, preliminary conclusions say that e-scooters provide the benefits of standing than sitting.
5. Micromobility will redesign cities.
If more people were to use electric scooters and other micromobile transportation, it would change the way cities design their roads and spaces. Ultimately, more cities will have a more people-approach design when planning spaces as cities build more pedestrians and cycling lanes.
In fact, European cities have already been adapting their infrastructure to cater to this approach. For example, Amsterdam rejected plans to build superhighways in the ’70s and invested in building cycling infrastructures instead. Today, half of the trips are via bicycles with 400 kilometres of cycling lanes across the city.
Oslo, Rome, London, and Singapore are just some of the cities across the globe that are trying to fight congestion by reclaiming spaces for people. By building more pedestrians and cycling lanes, and implementing speed limit reductions and congestion charges, these cities reduce car usage in the area, contributing to less environmental impact, healthier citizens, and a more efficient way to travel.
Changing the way we move
If more cities, policies, and commuters support micromobile solutions such as electric scooters, it could change the way we travel in the future. Moreover, it could effectively replace cars for 70% of short trips in the city, solving the first and last-mile problems and helping reduce carbon emissions. It may still be too early to say the impact of electric scooters in the future of transportation. However, it is undeniable how it is already shaping the way people move today.