Scooters: On Demand Transportation for All
Scooters expand transportation options in Norfolk
The City of Norfolk partnered with Lime to launch scooters in June of 2019.
Lime deployed about 1,100 scooters across the city, and residents quickly fell in love with this affordable, easy-to-use mode of transportation.
As part of its contract with the city, Lime provides data from the GPS trackers on the scooters to help the city understand how, when, and where scooters are used. This information helps to inform the city's multimodal transportation plan - how residents get around through all means of transportation, whether by car, public transit, biking, scooting or walking.
This data also helps the city understand how micromobility options -- shared, lightweight devices such as scooters and bicycles -- help Norfolk residents get where they need to go.
Now, this data is right here in NorfolkOpenData. Scooter trip data has been anonymized to show start/end by census tract to protect users' identities and routes.
Amy Inman (pictured at left), Director of Norfolk's Department of Transit, said scooters achieved the city's objective: greater access to first mile/last mile transportation.
"It really demonstrates the use and need for microtransit," Inman said. "The convenience factor is really attractive to most people. They provide reliability and ease of access. You can climb on and get to your destination in a couple of minutes."
Lots of miles, lots of short trips
Data for the first year of ridership demonstrates the success of the program. Riders have logged nearly 600,000 miles on Lime scooters! Most trips last less than a mile, and most trips last less than 10 minutes.
Still, 600,000 miles is a lot!
Ride every day
The data visualization below shows the steady demand for scooters. Ridership rose from the June 2019 launch and spiked over Labor Day Weekend that year. Numbers declined during the winter months, and stopped entirely from mid-March to mid-June. Scooters were removed as the city and many businesses shut down to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
When scooters returned, with twice daily cleanings and new maintenance procedures, so did demand.
Ride around the clock
Data shows that riders use scooters to get around 24 hours a day, including late at night and in the wee hours of the morning. Check out this data visualization, based on a 24-hour clock.
Transportation Strategic Planner Evandro Santos said this ridership shows scooters' substantial contribution to the city's mobility.
"People who work third shifts, like those at hotels and hospitals, are using scooters" when other modes of transportation are not available, Santos said.
Where people ride
This map shows where rides begin in Norfolk by frequency. Ride starts are concentrated in downtown and near Naval Station Norfolk, but the map shows rides beginning throughout the city, as well as rides beginning in neighboring cities that conclude in Norfolk.
Stay safe, be courteous
Since scooters launched, the city and scooter vendor Lime have worked to ensure riders know the "rules of the road."
- Wear a helmet!
- For streets with speed limits above 25 MPH, you must ride scooters in a bike lane or on a sidewalk.
- Scooters must be ridden on streets with speed limits 25 MPH or below and are not allowed to be ridden on the sidewalks, including downtown.
- Park responsibly - out of the street and clear of building entrances and ramps.
Lime green love
Norfolk likes scooters for lots of other reasons. Lime scooters are green, literally and environmentally. "They are not competing for parking, and they are reducing capacity on our roadways," Inman said. Scooters provide jobs to "juicers": people who collect the scooters to recharge and redistribute.
At $1 to start and 32 cents per minute of use, rides are in reach for nearly every budget.
The data provided by scooters helps Inman and her transit team make informed decisions about transportation options in Norfolk.
Last but not least: they're fun.
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