Staff have evaluated the city’s shared e-scooter pilot program by reviewing overall use, safety, sustainability, racial equity, demographics, mode shift, parking and community feedback.

Looking back at one year of shared e-scooters

The pilot period for the city’s shared e-scooter program has ended. Staff have since evaluated the program by reviewing overall use, safety, sustainability, racial equity, demographics, mode shift, parking and community feedback.

Data highlights

Community input includes 1022 responses to a city questionnaire, 175 responses to a Lime questionnaire, Inquire Boulder reports, and phone calls and emails.

  • Riders traveled 117,700 miles in total. (That’s 42 times the length of the U.S.)

  • Nearly half (47%) of city questionnaire respondents would have taken a motor vehicle if an e-scooter wasn’t available

  • Riders saved approximately 26,058 pounds of greenhouse gas (about the amount of carbon that 13 acres of U.S. forests reduce in one year)

What We Heard

Here are five key community takeaways and how the city is responding with proposed next steps.

Example of required shared e-scooter parking
An example of required shared e-scooter parking

1. Improperly parked e-scooters can be a travel obstacle

For people walking, biking, and using mobility aids like wheelchairs, fallen or improperly parked scooters make it difficult to get around Boulder.

Sharing the path is essential.

Proposed next steps:

  • Transitioning the program from a “dockless” (no required parking zone) to a hybrid “docked” system

  • Developing criteria for possible designated parking zones city-wide

  • Geofencing to designate e-scooter parking in sensitive areas

Geofencing is a way to regulate where and at what speed shared e-scooters can travel and/or park. 

Person on wheelchair traveling on sidewalk blocked by scooter
Report improperly parked e-scooters to Lime.
Lime will respond within two hours
from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

2. Sidewalks feel safer than streets and bike lanes

About 43% of respondents to the city’s questionnaire prefer sidewalks for three reasons: the convenience of traveling both ways, bike lanes aren’t always available, and feeling unsafe because of vehicle speeds or traffic volumes.

Proposed next steps include:

  • Increase safety efforts toward building protected infrastructure

  • Allow shared e-scooters on some sidewalks, such as in areas with fewer pedestrians, until protected on-street options are complete

3. Convenience is key

Respondents shared that e-scooters are a fun way to get to work, school and recreational activities. Respondents also expressed general frustration with the e-scooters pilot being restricted to East Boulder, east of 28th Street.

heatmap of e-scooter usage

A heatmap of shared e-scooter usage.

Proposed next steps include:

  • Transition to city-wide access while restricting e-scooters from sensitive areas, such as the Pearl Street Mall or University Hill

4. Safety is a priority

Respondents expressed general concerns about safe e-scooter use.

white and black words that say Vision Zero

The city’s crash rate is .01%, with a total of 17 shared e-scooter crashes reported during the pilot program, including four moderate to severe crashes.

While this is low compared to other similarly sized cities, safety is a City of Boulder priority and zero is the goal.

Proposed next steps include:

  • Refine coordination with enforcement and health agencies for crash reporting and possible crash trends

  • Increase helmet use, and continue to provide free helmets to registered riders

  • Additional education and enforcement

5. Mobility needs to be equitable

Accessibility and racial equity will continue to be central program considerations.

Proposed next steps include:

  • Improve access to the program and remove barriers to affordability programs

  • Allow access to e-scooters for people working outside of operating hours (6 a.m. to 11 p.m.)

  • Explore subsidized memberships for people living and working in general improvement districts

  • Additional feedback

Other Feedback

Other public input included aesthetic concerns, abandoned scooters, observed unsafe riding behaviors, and both a general like and dislike for the scooters.

What’s next?

Stay tuned for shared e-scooter updates in spring 2023.

  • Jan. 5, 2023 City staff will update City Council on proposed next steps. While this is not a public hearing item and there is no council action, council feedback will help inform next steps.
  • Spring 2023 Staff will begin program formalization based on the findings from the evaluation and community, stakeholder, and elected official feedback.

Program formalization is when a program evolves from its early exploratory phase into a more established, standard program.

Learn more

The Shared Micromobility Program Goal Provide community members safe, equitable and sustainable forms of transportation to improve quality of life, provide connections to transit and key destinations, and reduce traffic congestion and transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions.

Find the full 2021-2022 shared e-scooter pilot evaluation report, data and maps on Shared E-Scooters and E-Bikes.

Be Heard Boulder

Help inform changes to Boulder’s mobility network and public space during future input opportunities at Be Heard Boulder.