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Micromobility in Boulder

The City of Boulder's 2019 Transportation Master Plan sets out a roadmap for a future that is shared and electric to meet our transportation and climate goals

Micromobility can help us get there. It refers to ways of getting around that use shared services and connected technology to provide more travel choices to more people. These smaller-scale travel choices can help reduce single-occupant car trips and fill in gaps in our transportation network. 

To achieve more sustainable transportation in Boulder, we'll need to manage these services in ways that maximizes benefits and minimizes risks. 

Upcoming Dates 

  • March 3, 2020: City Council meeting
    • First reading of the ordinance implementing council's direction regarding e-scooter mortatorium. Council memo pdf 
  • April 7, 2020: City Council meeting
    • Second reading of e-scooter ordinance and public hearing.
    • First reading of proposed modifications to Dockless Bike Share Licensing Program regarding e-bikes. 

Past Dates 

  • Jan. 28, 2020: City Council study session.
    • City Council directed staff not to move forward with e-scooters at this time as part of the city's Shared Mircomobility Program and requested further monitoring of the e-scooter industry. 

E-Scooters 

As a micromobility option, e-scooters could support our city's Transportation Master Plan and Climate Commitment goals, but only if they're managed in a way that works for our community. That's why the city has temporarily paused issuing business licenses to e-scooter companies seeking to operate in Boulder until April 2020. We're using this time to explore whether we should adopt e-scooters and, if so, what potential regulations could look like that would guide responsible, safe and beneficial e-scooter operation in our city. 

Public feedback

As part of this study period, the city held public e-scooter demonstration events in September 2019. Community members were able to try out e-scooters and provide feedback. An online questionnaire on e-scooters was also available on Be Heard Boulder to help collect community input on e-scooters. Be Heard Boulder questionnaire results pdf 

E-scooter benefits and risks

Electric scooters, or "e-scooters," are taking many cities by storm. They can have benefits, such as:

  • Replacing car trips and as a result reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Providing a quick and easy way to get to and from bus stops (solving the tricky "first-and-final-mile" problem). 
  • Filling in transportation connections in areas underserved by transit.

But e-scooters also have drawbacks, including:

  • Concerns around safety.
  • Disruptions to the public right-of-way.
  • Sustainability of device lifecycle. 

Dockless e-bikes

The City of Boulder is also exploring allowing dockless e-bike vendors in Boulder as part of its overall strategy to support a greater availability of micromobility options in Boulder. The service makes it easier for people to bike to work, school, to and from bus stops or simply for fun because they do not have to travel to a fixed docking facility to retrieve or return bikes.

To ensure dockless bike sharing supports public welfare and the city's transportation goals, the city launched a pilot program for dockless bike sharing, ending Aug. 7, 2020. The pilot includes operating rules for dockless bike share companies in Boulder to prevent negative impacts of the service, such as bikes left on private property or piled on sidewalks.

Questions?

Contact David Kemp, Senior Transportation Planner, at 303-441-1955 or [email protected].