Innovation

2019, the Year of the Scooter

While blissfully unaware in the Netherlands, the global urban mobility world is entranced by the new cool kid in town: the electric scooter. Funded by significant VC investment, the electric scooter is the latest gateway drug for cities screaming for alternative forms of transport.

In the Netherlands however, the general consensus is that nothing will ever beat the good old bicycle in terms of urban mobility. The idea is that the bicycle has been around forever and it will always remain dominant in the Dutch streets. However, in the meantime, the bicycle itself is undergoing a significant revolution. If you stand outside of Delft railway station for a few minutes in the morning rush hour – or any station in the Netherlands for that matter – you will see a great variety of bicycles, including folding bikes, shared bikes, leased bikes, electric bikes etc. etc. The bicycle is the bicycle, but it doesn’t stand still, it changes.

Meanwhile, open data from Austin, TX, shows that e-scooter trips have a significantly shorter average trip length than bicycle share trips (1-mile vs 2-miles). This reinforces my view that there is room for another type of vehicle on the Dutch bicycle paths. The e-scooter is light, clean, space efficient, effortless and fun. It also creates a seamless transition to and from public transit and thus makes for the perfect first- and last mile solution. This is something I experienced first-hand during my trip to Auckland, New Zealand, where Lime scooters are in hot demand.

Unfortunately, Dutch regulations are still a barrier to entry. Given our antiquated rules, it is impossible for the Dutch ministry to allow e-scooters on public roads. I truly hope and trust that this is a surmountable issue and that we’ll be able to welcome the e-scooter on the Dutch cycleways in the year ahead. Cheers to 2019, the year of the scooter.

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Lennart Nout

Manager of International Strategy

‘The interplay of different modalities within cities intrigues me. I am always looking for the best solution for the city and its inhabitants, while playing close attention to bikes. In the Netherlands and abroad I give workshops on the development of cycling culture, strategic network planning, street design and intersection design.’

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