Cherry Peers into Chicago’s Micromobility Sharing Programs

Cherry and Yang found that e-scooter riders compete heavily with traditional bikeshare. The study was published in Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice.

With the rise of e-scooter sharing in urban centers, is it possible that users adopting the new form of micromobility are ditching bike sharing? Professor Chris Cherry and his former student Hongtai Yang (wanted to find out just what kind of impact e-scooter sharing might be having on bike sharing usage.

They focused on Chicago—relying on their open data policies—and gathered a total of 30 weeks of data to help policymakers understand the impact of these micromobility vehicles in cities. Chicago’s open data has enabled a lot of research to be conducted freely by transportation researchers around the world.

While the duration of e-scooter trips is shorter than that of bike trips, the volume of short-, medium-, and long-duration trips of bike sharing decreased by 10.9 (7.5 percent), 5.4 (9.6 percent), and 3.4 trips (20.5 percent) at each station, respectively. On average, the introduction of e-scooter sharing reduced the overall bike sharing usage by 23.4 trips per week per station, or 10.2 percent. Bikeshare member rides barely decreased (4 percent) whereas the more lucrative non-member rides decreased by 34 percent in the scooter service areas.

This has important implications for transportation policy and finance. Since non-member rides make up most of the revenue for bikeshare systems, eroding ridership from those users can have outsized effects on the financial viability of bikeshare systems.