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Unlocking Shared Scooter Potential

A comparative analysis of regulatory models

Shared e-scooter services first launched in the mid-2010s, and since then, cities have implemented various regulatory models to enable these services and ensure they are beneficial for citizens. However, to date, no empirical research has been conducted to assess the efficacy and impacts of each regulatory model. To fill this knowledge gap, this study provides an overview of the existing regulatory models that have been implemented across Europe and assesses their respective impacts on cities as well as their residents.

Overview of existing e-scooter regulatory models in European cities

European cities have implemented a wide range of regulatory models that can be categorized into three groups:

  • Light Regulation, which consists of open markets and markets with standard regulations.
  • Medium Regulation, which consists of authorization regimes.
  • High Regulation, which consists of tenders.

There has recently been a trend among European cities toward stricter e-scooter regulations due to a perception among policymakers that the more stringent regulatory models enable better monitoring and management of shared e-scooter services in their cities, thereby improving the quality of the services for their citizens. However, the research for this report has shown that Light Regulation models (especially MoUs) and Medium Regulation models can both provide cities with the degree of control needed to ensure quality and responsiveness to the needs of their citizens.


Local impacts of different regulatory models

These three categories of regulations have a wide range of impacts on cities as well as their inhabitants.

  • More stringent regulation comes at a higher cost for city administrations, with tenders requiring cities to spend up to 160 days per year on preparation and follow-up monitoring of the service.
  • More regulation results in higher prices for the usage of micromobility services and fewer monthly trips, meaning lower adoption of the service.
  • Monopolies result in significantly smaller fleet sizes per 1000 inhabitants and higher costs for users
  • Cities with three to four operators have the most favorable range of monthly trips per 1000 inhabitants, meaning that adoption of the service is higher.
  • Bringing additional e-scooters to market results in more trips. Given the strong interconnection with public transport, hard caps on micromobility fleet sizes hinder public transport usage.


Recommendations for cities

Based on the key findings above, there are five recommendations for city administrations in order to release micromobility benefits:

  • Before implementing any regulatory scheme, city officials should thoroughly analyze the different models and prioritize those that enhance accessibility and shift people from cars toward more sustainable transport modes.
  • For cities implementing shared e-scooter regulations for the first time, regulators should prioritize Light or Medium regulations, due to their lower costs and greater flexibility.
  • Cities officials should be conscious of the negative impact of hard fleet caps on the adoption of shared e-scooters and their sustainability benefits.
  • Rather than hard fleet caps, dynamic fleet caps could be implemented instead, based on performance metrics such as average daily trips per vehicle, parking compliance, and others.
  • A minimum of four shared e-scooter operators is recommended to ensure sufficient competition, innovation and affordable services, as well as to reduce the risk of an eventual monopoly in case of operators ceasing operations or consolidation within the industry.

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