• Raleigh

The ScooterSphere: Micro-Mobility and it’s impact on Raleigh-Durham

By: David C. Smith, Vice President, Americas Head of Occupier Research

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 micro-mobility 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 micro-mobility in just the past two years. In fact, electronic scooters accounted for half of the 84 million U.S. micro-mobility 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 currently two eScooter providers in Raleigh and four in Durham. The initial focus was around universities – Duke University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State, but quickly shifted to Raleigh and Durham’s downtown areas. The large supply in CBDs has 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. Seventy percent of Americans have a positive perception of micro-mobility.
  • 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 are enormously popular and have been widely adopted in downtown Raleigh and Durham, but with new regulations in place in Raleigh 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. 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.

Check out Cushman & Wakefield’s view of The ScooterSphere below or visit our website for more on the eScooter trend!

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