Household surveys and demand studies are essential for government decision making. Many of the mobility planning decisions are subsidized by expensive and long studies, which mostly work with standard travel flows, based on the average peak time for work days. And that is a good solution when you need to propose static solutions for dynamic and complex problems.
But what do urban planners say about the eventual high demands? Is it possible to give people an additional offer of public transport in high sporadic demand? Are the taxi and the car shared efficient and democratic enough to solve this? Probably not.
Micromobility has changed the way people move through the cities where it is included, humanizing mobility and reducing air pollution. In its first investigation, Grow has discovered that 65% of scooter users in Sao Paulo, Brazil, have their own cars, and approximately 40% of scooter trips replaced car trips. In a recent study, the city of Santa Monica, USA, analyzed the characteristics of scooter's users and trips from different operators. The results confirm that micromobility has great potential to reduce car dependence and can be a good option for urban trips, accessible in many socio-economic levels.
As an additional function, micromobility can also be useful in many cases of high demand. Soccer games, concerts, public events, serious accidents, strikes, etc., can overload public transport and road traffic systems, and in these situations micromobility systems can help. The case studies below indicate the variations in the use of Grow scooters in days of big events in ten Latin American cities.
ELECTRIC SCOOTERS AS AN ALTERNATIVE IN THE CITIES WE LOVE
To understand the impacts of the events, it was decided to use six-month trips, between June and November 2019, in ten cities where Grow operates. In the images below, you can see the average travel by day of the week - a percentage related to the overall average - in all cities considered. Bars represent the percentage of events related to the same overall average.
Grow has been operating in Brasilia since January 2019 with electric scooters and bicycles. There were several events that we attended, including the Half Marathon on November 10th - which is the third stage of the Run Cities series, with a 21k run through the federal capital - and the event “Corpus Christi Run” on June 20th.
The June’s event Grow Scooters had a 627% increase on their trips, which is an incredible peak, but also shows that electric scooters have become a real solution when mobility within the city becomes complex. On the other hand, for the “Half Marathon” the trips rides was 207% higher than the trips on a regular Friday.
Grow Scooters in Belo Horizonte important trips peak happened on August 15th, increasing around 235% in comparison with the average trips per day. On this date many events occurred in the city as part of the local religious holiday (Nossa Senhora da Boa Viagem).
RIO DE JANEIRO
Grow Scooters arrived on December 2018 in Rio de Janeiro, and its daily trips had important peaks during the second semester of 2019. These happened on Saturdays, one in November 2nd - a holiday and the same day were Auê Convida Silva concert occurred in the city’s downtown - where the trips increased on a 200% compared to the average. The second on November 16th - when Erasmo Carlos and Fresno made concerts at the beaches and center area - showed that our trips increased on a 171%.
This was the first city to start with electric scooters street operation in August 2018. On the second semester of 2019 there were events like the Unique Music Festival (October 24th to 26th), Balaclava Fest (October 13th) and Sandy e Junior’s concert (October 13th). All these helped increasing 227% the trips in October 24th and 240% in October 13rd, in comparison to the daily trips average.
The city has had both modes - scooters and bikes - since January 2019. Our operation had important trips peaks on October 28th due to a rock concert - Bad Religion and The Offspring - with a 150% increase in comparison with average trips. During a soccer game on November 3rd, there were 276% more trips than general average.
In the first year of Grow's operation in Bogotá, the city had local elections on October 27th, and on October 31st there was a university strike. During the election day our trips increased 136% on the base of daily trips; on the strike day they increased 161%. These events show that for specific events like elections or strikes, when citizens are aware that mobility could be affected, they decide to use the alternatives. On both events Grin scooters were an alternative mobility option.
The events that caused peaks on our trips in the Argentinean capital were one electoral and one sustainable fair. The Biofair on Palermo’s Racetracks, on September 29th, impacted on our trips increasing them on a 208% in comparison with the average trips. On the second event, the Presidential election day on November 8th, we reached a 161% more trips.
In the eight months that Grow has been present in Lima, the event that had an important impact on our average trips was the weekend of the “Copa Libertadores” final. A day before the tournament final - November 22nd - our trips increased 178% in the tourist area where most of the attendants to this event were staying. This event indicates that electric scooters are not just an option for urban commuters, but also for tourists.
On this Colombian city, election day and a university strike showed that Grow scooters are a mobility option when the city becomes a difficult place to go from one place to another. On October 27th, Grow had an increase of 206% compared to average trips. On the other side, during the universities strike - Universidad Pedagógica Nacional, Universidad Distrital y Universidad Nacional - on Thursday October 31st, just a few days after the election day, Grow trips were 198% higher than the regular amount of trips. During this strike the mobility within the city was challenged as a consequence of the blocked streets.
In the city that saw Grin born, events like a national historical commemoration parade and a taxi driver’s protest, showed that the possibility of facing a city with mobility complications makes people find a different and easier way to get to their destination within it. On October 7th, the main avenues and access of the city were blocked by the strike, which made our scooters trips increased on a 114% in comparison with the average trips. For the Revolution Anniversary parade on Wednesday November 20th, Grin scooters trips were 219% higher than the normal usage.
WHAT DOES THIS SAY ABOUT MICROMOBILIY?
The examples above show that when the traditional mobility solutions will not be able to ensure the urban trips, or their use will imply a considerable increase on their traveltime, micromobility, specifically Grow electric scooters, have become a real mobility alternative. During these events the behavior of the riders changed into using other types of vehicles that allowed them to improve their mobility.
The kind of events that increase the demand on traditional mobility solutions changes within each country, but we have noticed that outside Brazil, these events tend to be social mobilizations - strikes - and government initiatives or events, along with a few sports and economic fairs. Within Brazil most of these events are sports - soccer games - or cultural ones, like concerts and even local traditions. The relevant issue here is the impact of these events on the cities’ mobility, and how citizens are aware of these new urban mobility alternatives that take them efficiently to their destiny.
The trips increase during these events general average is 195%, which might be translated into a temporary high demand that we have been able to satisfy it. On the other hand, the days when this trips peaks happened more often are Thursdays and Sundays, the first one has a tendency of not having relevant peaks within the weekdays; meanwhile, Sundays tend to have more leisure trips and compared with the weekdays the trips tend to fall in general. At Grow Scooters, we believe that this temporary use of shared electric scooters, along with the desire to leave the car at home and use another alternative to move around the city, helps mobility and the environment in urban centers.
The recent transport strikes in Paris, the French capital, show that when urban mobility turns complicated micromobility and shared electric scooters services are a real option for urban commuters. This analysis was made by Augustin Friedel with data from Flucto.com and its available in this link. The increase of this tendency among cities worldwide shows our ability to be an alternative.
Micromobility through shared electric scooters service arrival just a couple of years ago, along with its quick acceptance by urban commuters, has helped the cities we loved to move at the speed of their citizens and not at the speed of the machines they use to move within them. A proof of it is that when commuters have required to improve the way they move, on any given day with a foreseen complicated mobility, they looked around and decided that an electric scooter was a suitable option for their mobility needs in that moment.
Whenever events like the ones mentioned before are present in our cities, mobility efficiency is required. This efficiency can be achieved by multimodality, and micromobility along with electric scooters, have helped this goal, either by connecting citizens with the different traditional mobility options they have, or just being the single option for their urban commute.
The peaks in our trips caused by certain events, like the ones presented above, show that shared electric scooters-offer is able to take care of the urban mobility demand whenever this mobility is challenged. Nevertheless, the real capacity of these type of mobility services to satisfy eventual high demand might be hidden behind the caps and the offer-limitations established by the local authorities, and it may be observed on the range of the increase of these peaks. But that discussion might be for another blog entrance.