(July 5, 2018) Permit applications for the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s 120-day Shared Electric Scooter Pilot Program opened today, inviting shared electric scooter companies to apply to participate in the program. The first such pilot in Oregon, shared electric scooters could begin operating in Portland by the end of July.
The Transportation Bureau will use the 120-day pilot to help the City determine whether Shared Electric Scooters, also known as e-scooters, can support Portland’s mobility, equity, safety, and climate action goals. The total number of e-scooters allowed to operate in the city will be capped at 2,500, with a requirement that companies deploy approximately 20 percent of their fleet each day in East Portland. Applications for participating in the pilot are due by July 12, with permit issuance scheduled for late July.
Throughout the Pilot Program, Shared Scooter companies will be expected to report on and mitigate impacts in several areas of concern. These include (but are not limited to): Safety and access for people walking, safety and access for people with disabilities and compliance with state law (including helmet requirements and the prohibition on sidewalk riding).
Through public engagement and program evaluation, City officials will determine whether and under what circumstances electric scooter sharing may be permitted to continue operating in the public right-of-way after the Pilot Program has ended. The bureau will use anonymized trip data analysis, user surveys, and intercept surveys to understand the potential benefits and burdens of e-scooter operations in Portland in relation to the City’s equity, mobility, and climate action goals.
Shared Electric Scooters are an emerging technology and shared mobility service. The first systems in the U.S. launched in 2017. Like bikeshare programs, the service provides scooters available to rent for one-way trips for a fee. To begin a rental, companies typically require customers to download an app or text a number to unlock the device. To end a trip, customers park the scooter in the service area in the furnishings zone. The scooters typically do not lock to anything.
Electric scooters are powered exclusively by an electric motor, and in Portland, companies will be required to cap the maximum speed to 15 MPH. Per State law, people using electric scooters are allowed on Portland city streets, multi-use paths and in bike lanes. Oregon Vehicle Code prohibits people using electric scooter on the sidewalk and in crosswalks. In addition, people using electric scooters are required to wear a bicycle helmet. Youth under age 16 are prohibited from riding electric scooters. While riding an electric scooter, users are required to yield to people walking and people with disabilities.