Banning Electric Scooters Results in More, Longer Car Trips, Study Says

Cities should expect to see increases in automobile trips, and resulting consequences, if they ban or limit the use of electric scooters or other micromobility devices, according to new research.

Read Time: 1 minute

November 1, 2022, 10:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


A woman on an electric bike and two women on electric scooters wait at an intersection for the light to change.

Ralph Rozema / Shutterstock

According to research published via open access by the journal Nature Energy, banning the use of micromobility devices (i.e., electric scooters) at night leads to a large increase in automobile trips. 

The research generated reports findings of a natural experiment in Atlanta, where the city set geofences on rented scooters to disable their operation at night—“guaranteeing near perfect compliance.”

“Evidence from a natural experiment in [Atlanta] shows increases in travel time of 9–11% for daily commuting and 37% for large events,” according to the study's authors.

As noted in the study's literature review, prior research into micromobility has revealed little about the effects of the mode's adoption on automobile traffic. Findings have focused instead on loss of public transit trips as a result of shared micromobility. Notably, scooters have the opposite effect on mode share when compared to ride-hailing companies, which displace riders from public transit and active modes like biking and walking. 

Thursday, October 27, 2022 in Nature Energy

Green bike lane with flexible delineators and textures paint in Hoboken, New Jersey

America’s Best New Bike Lanes

PeopleForBikes highlights some of the most exciting new bike infrastructure projects completed in 2022.

January 31, 2023 - PeopleforBikes

Aerial view of MBTA commuter rail station in Concord, Massachusetts among green trees

Massachusetts Zoning Reform Law Reaches First Deadline

Cities and towns had until January 31 to submit their draft plans for rezoning areas near transit stations to comply with a new state law.

February 1, 2023 - Streetsblog Mass

Green alley under construction

Green Alleys: A New Paradigm for Stormwater Management

Rather than shuttling stormwater away from the city and into the ocean as quickly as possible, Los Angeles is now—slowly—moving toward a ‘city-as-sponge’ approach that would capture and reclaim more water to recharge crucial reservoirs.

February 2, 2023 - Curbed

View of downtown San Francisco from top of windy street at sunset with Coit Tower in distance

San Francisco Housing Plan Gets State Approval

The city cleared a major hurdle as its housing plan, which paves the way for 82,000 new homes by 2030, is certified by the state.

44 minutes ago - KALW

Green Line, Los Angeles

Rail Transit Plans Would Connect L.A.’s South Bay to the Regional Rail System

Two new transit extensions promise several new routes for South Bay residents to access the Los Angeles region’s transit system.

1 hour ago - The Source

Texas Capitol Building

Property Appraisal Caps Unlikely to Pass in Texas

Critics of a proposal to limit property value increases to reduce homeowners’ property tax burden say the measure would destabilize the housing market and cause cities to raise other taxes to compensate.

2 hours ago - Houston Chronicle

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.