Back in June, state lawmakers voted to legalize e-scooters and e-bikes in New York state and allow municipalities to decide on how to regulate e-scooter sharing programs. But the piece of legislation is still pending Gov. Cuomo’s approval, and as written, the bill won’t allow e-scooter sharing programs in Manhattan.
But it may behoove the city and state to advance those plans: A new study placed NYC among the top 10 cities in the U.S. with the most micromobility potential and the most impact in replacing vehicle trips.
The study by INRIX Research analyzed car trips in major cities suited for micromobility distances and found that 51 percent of trips in New York City are less than three miles: 22 percent are between zero and one mile, 17 percent from one to two miles, and 11 percent from two to 3 miles.
Additionally, the report analyzed the specific neighborhoods in each city with “disproportionately high percentages of short car trips” that would benefit the most from modes of transit like e-scooters.
In Manhattan’s case, Midtown and the Upper East Side have the highest short-distance trips. While the report acknowledges that “Manhattan has the highest transit coverage of any major American city,” it attributes the large percentage of short vehicle trips in the Upper East Side to the lack of transit options in the area (new Second Avenue subway stops notwithstanding).
“Micromobility-as-a-service could provide a valuable alternative to driving in lower transit service areas, and increase the catchment area for existing stations,” the study reads. “With congestion tolling and the continued expansion of the protected cycle network in New York City, shared micromobility services could safely provide critical first- and last-mile connections to neighborhoods throughout the city.”
Other U.S. cities preceding NYC/Manhattan in the top 10 list include Honolulu, New Orleans, Nashville, TN, Chicago, and Charlotte, NC.
Micromobility and e-scooter company Lime echoed the conclusions of the study.
“By taking advantage of e-bikes and e-scooters on our streets, we can achieve greater mobility for New Yorkers to improve commutes, the environment, and quality of life in the city and across the state,” Phil Jones, senior director fo East Coast government relations and strategic partnerships at Lime.