Access to micromobility options makes it easier for those who live in urban areas to get around their city. The economic benefits to riders, cities, and local businesses can be substantiated from our survey results and external research.
Why Riders Chose Scooter Sharing by Income Group
Using data collected in the July 2019 Global Rider Survey by Lime, we find that US riders that fall into lower income brackets are more likely to choose Lime because it is an affordable travel option, whereas higher income riders are more likely to ride Lime for convenience.
We also see that in the US, low-income riders use Lime to access transit more frequently: 56% of riders making less than $15,000 used Lime to get to or from transit in the last month, compared to 48% for all riders.
Trip Purposes for Locals versus Visitors
Data from the same survey shows that non-local riders are more likely to ride Lime in order access local business destinations. 29.3% of non-local riders ended their trip at a restaurant or entertainment venue, versus just 17.5% of local riders.
Access to Local Businesses and Job Opportunities
In an October 2019 survey done by Lime in Auckland, New Zealand, 41% of riders stated that Lime makes it easier for them to afford to live and remain in the city. We see similar results in a November 2019 survey of Washington, DC, riders. In this survey, 72% of riders in DC stated that they have visited more local businesses and explored more local attractions since using Lime.
In the same Washington, DC, survey, 44% of riders stated that having Lime available to them makes it easier to access their current job or job opportunities. Additionally, 57% of riders also stated that they regularly use lime to get to or from work or school.
Direct and Indirect Economic Benefits of Micromobility
Academic research has compared the purchasing patterns of different modes of transportation and found that customers generally spend similar amounts, regardless of mode. A study in Portland, OR found that non-drivers (pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users) actually spent more over the course of a month at all business types except supermarkets (Clifton et al 2012). Similar results were found on Bloor Street in Toronto: bicyclists and pedestrians spent the most money per month (Sztabinski 2009).
Furthermore, policies and infrastructure that support non-auto modes of transportation can provide a boost to business. Several studies have been conducted on the economic impacts of bike lane infrastructure in cities, and all show little to no negative effects on local business (for a list of studies, see this CityLab summary article). In some cases, inclusion of bike infrastructure actually increased revenue. For example, in Seattle, WA, retail sales spiked following the implementation of a bike lane which removed several parking spots (Rowe 2013).
In addition to these direct impacts on business, micromobility can also save travelers time and alleviate congestion, especially when paired with sufficient infrastructure. Given the same amount of space, protected bikeways move 3 times more people per hour than mixed traffic lanes with frequent buses, according to NACTO. Since scooters operate at similar speeds to bikes (Fang, Agrawal, and Hooper 2019), scooters are likely to exhibit the same space and time-saving benefits.
In aggregate, these time savings add up. For example, the USDOT recently estimated the value of travel time savings for personal local travel were an average of $13.60 per hour, comparable to values derived by European countries (USDOT 2016). Urban drivers in the world’s top 25 most congested cities lose over 100 hours in congestion each year (INRIX study). Congestion therefore costs city travelers dearly: over $2,000 a year per driver in the most congested US cities.
|ANNUAL HOURS LOST INCONGESTION PER DRIVER||ANNUAL COST OFCONGESTIONPER DRIVER||ANNUAL COST OFCONGESTIONPER CITY|
|Boston, MA||164||$2,291||$ 4.1B|
|Washington, DC||155||$2,161||$ 4.6B|
|Chicago, IL||138||$1,920||$ 6.2B|
|New York City, NY||133||$1,859||$ 9.5B|
|Los Angeles, CA||128||$1,788||$ 9.3B|
Improved Access to Jobs and Opportunities
Seattle Transportation Benefit District (STBD) has a goal of providing high-frequency (10-minute or less headways) transit service within a 10 minute walk to 72% of Seattle households by 2025. Between 2015 and 2018 percent of households meeting this goal has increased from 25% to 67%.
Conveyal analyzed Seattle’s transit network using e-bikes and e-scooters instead of just walking and found that 78% of Seattle households would meet the threshold and achieve STBD’s goal.
Conveyal’s research also found that micromobility can substantially improve access to jobs. Conveyal’s analysis was completed for each council district and Seattle as a whole to understand what micromobility’s impact is for the average worker. Conveyal found that the average worker in Seattle could access approximately 100,000 more jobs with micromobility plus transit.
A specific example from the Conveyal research found that from West Seattle commuters could only access 67,000 jobs within 45 minutes. However, when including micromobility, a commuter could access 261,000 jobs within 45 minutes.