The high proportion of short-distance trips – independent of a city’s density or public transit network – highlights the universal potential for shared scooters and bikes in a new report.
Shared bikes and scooters could replace nearly half of all downtown trips, according to a survey which sets out to rank cities that stand to benefit most from micro-mobility services.
Analysing trillions of anonymous data points from hundreds of millions of connected devices, mobility specialist, Inrix, ranked the top US, UK and German cities where micro-mobility services have the greatest potential to reduce vehicle trips.
The US National Association of City Transportation Officials’ trip distance estimates shows scooters are frequently used for trips between a 0.5- and one mile, whereas bike distances are typically between one mile and three miles.
Analysing more than 50 million anonymous car trips, Inrix Research found that 48 per cent of all car trips in the most congested US metro areas are less than three miles (20 per cent > 1 mile, 16 per cent 1-2 miles and 12 per cent 2-3 miles).
If a fraction of these vehicle trips were replaced with scooter and bike trips, American cities could reap significant benefits, said Inrix.
In the US, Honolulu, Hawaii, New Orleans, Louisiana, and Nashville, Tennessee, comprise the top three cities with the greatest profile for micro-mobility to succeed and reduce vehicle trips.
These cities also feature warm climates with minimal topographic variation, providing further support for micro-mobility. The high proportion of short-distance trips – independent of a city’s density or public transit network – highlights the universal potential for shared scooters and bikes.
Manchester leads the UK ranking of cities that stand to benefit the most from micro-mobility services followed by Birmingham, Glasgow, London, and Sheffield.
In all these cities, micromobility users would complete their journeys faster than – or equally fast as – using vehicles. With an average speed of 12mph, e-scooters and bikes complete the last mile of a journey quicker than vehicles in Glasgow (11mph), Manchester (10mph), Sheffield (10mph) and London (7mph).
In Birmingham, the last mile was found to be equally fast for vehicles and micro-mobility options.
UK analysis reveals a much higher proportion of short-distance vehicle trips compared to cities in the US, which is attributable to higher density levels than typically seen in the US (UK drivers have shorter distances to travel to find the same goods).
“Our report indicates cities across the country can hugely benefit from solutions like e-scooters and e-bikes with Manchester leading the way”
The pattern of land use makes British cities, on average, more appealing for micro-mobility solutions due to the greater opportunity for car trip displacement, noted Inrix.
“With an environmental crisis on our hands, governments and local authorities must act now to provide efficient and effective transportation options in UK cities,” said Trevor Reed, transportation analyst at Inrix and author of the report.
“Our report indicates cities across the country can hugely benefit from solutions like e-scooters and e-bikes with Manchester leading the way. However, at present, legislation and public education does not do enough to encourage micro-mobility.”
From the nearly 25 million trips observed in Germany, Inrix’s research found the proportion short-distance trips fall between those of the UK and the US with 15 per cent of trips being 0-1 mile, 34 per cent 1-2 miles, and 9 per cent 2-3 miles.
It is attributable to city population densities that are greater than those typically found in the US, but less than those in the UK. Unsurprisingly, the top two German cities are also the two densest cities in Germany – Munich and Hamburg. These were followed by Berlin, Frankfurt and Cologne.
Munich has the highest proportion of short distance trips in Germany with three-fifths of vehicle trips being less than three miles. When looking at the distribution of trips across the city, a disproportionate number fall in the city centre and region directly north of it.
With concentrated investments in micromobility services, Munich could achieve “outsized impacts” due to the high number of short distance trips in a relatively small geographic area, noted Inrix.
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