Shifts in mobility are all around us. In addition to traditional modes of transportation—such as cars and public transportation via train or bus—there are new offerings available to commuters, residents and tourists. This includes ridesharing, which has experienced a dramatic rise this past decade. Additionally, there has been a significant shift in micromobility over the past 24 months. While station-based (or docked) shared bicycles became common in some American cities a decade ago, electronic scooters have revolutionized micromobility in just the past two years. In fact, electronic scooters accounted for nearly half of the 84 million U.S. micromobility rides in 2018.
This sudden rise in eScooter ridership is due to the wide accessibility of dockless scooters made available by various electronic scooter providers in nearly 150 U.S. cities in a relatively short time frame. There are almost a half a dozen eScooter providers in Metro Phoenix alone. The large supply in denser parts of the city, including Old Town Scottsdale and Tempe, have boosted eScooters’ popularity by increasing the relative ease of accessing a ride at any time of the day or night. Additionally, eScooter ridership has grown because they are:
- Affordable. A typical trip of under two miles can cost $3-4 less than ridesharing.
- Popular. 70% of Americans have a positive perception of micromobility.
- Just fun! Ridership increases by 18% over the weekends, peaking on Saturday afternoons. During the week, eScooters are most commonly used during evening commutes and for getting around after work.
eScooters have become enormously popular and have been widely adopted in Old Town Scottsdale and Tempe, but with new regulations in place in Phoenix and more legislation coming throughout the region, safety concerns, regulations, and profitability are still open questions. The potential impact on commercial real estate is large as eScooters reduce the friction of last-mile transportation in dense submarkets such as Tempe and the Central Business District (CBD). Scooters max speed (15 mph) is five times that of the average human walker. This means people can easily access greater amounts of office space, multifamily units, retail space and restaurants / entertainment.
Utilizing eScooters to connect users to the light rail, Tempe Town Lake and the canal significantly increases the inventory of Class A apartments and office space available in these areas. A half-mile walk from the light rail there are 27.2 million square feet (MSF) of office space and 27,376 units of multifamily accessible by foot. Using an eScooter, users could access double the amount of high-quality office space and triple the amount of units in less time. Expanding to a 1.5 mile radius from the light rail connects us to 42 MSF of office and 62,272 units on an eScooter. This micromobility means more access for transit users.
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By: David C. Smith, Vice President, Americas Head of Occupier Research