Personal electric scooters (also called e-scooters) have quickly gained attention in Western cities as a novel means of transportation. As community leaders seek a new generation of mobility options, e-scooters represent great promise but also considerable complexity. These privately-funded vehicles operate generally without much regulation, and many of the platforms require no fixed charging stations. Also, e-scooters can be parked wherever a user wishes to leave it. This has the potential to create obstacles on sidewalks or in the public right-of-way, a problem compounded by a general lack of enforceable regulation in cities.
American cities are in the midst of a personal mobility revolution, particularly centered on the growing phenomenon of dock-less bikeshare programs that have launched in many cities in the past few years. As city officials and community activists seek to diversify the modes of transportation available to residents and visitors, flexible new options such as dock-less bikeshare are emerging as low-cost alternatives to the more traditional public investments in mass transit and improved roadways. At the same time, a rash of private investment from high-tech firms and international consortiums has further reduced the startup and operating costs of dock-less bikeshare programs, which operate without costly docking stations or local administrative staff.