New Data and Rules for Dockless Scooters

Open data on 2 million dockless trips, plus new rules for riding on trails

New Data and Rules for Dockless Scooters
Photo by John Anderson

It's been a big news week for electric scooters. UT baseball star David Hamilton had his 2019 season end before it even began, due to a torn Achilles tendon sustained in a scooter accident. Then the Austin Trans­portation Department released a treasure trove of dockless mobility data "in the spirit of transparency and collaboration," with the department's civic technologists inviting input and insights from Austin's robust open-data community on how to learn from our experience (see Three portals track vehicle trips, where those trips occur within the city, and self-reported data from the industry. Those datasets document more than 2 million trips in the nine months since Lime, Bird, et al. came to Austin; we've already had more than 100,000 trips this month alone, the overwhelming majority of which were on scooters.

The growing popularity of the devices, as well as their obvious dangers, are enough reason for the city to keep fine-tuning its rules on the subject. That continued this week, with the Parks and Recreation Department announcing a pilot program to allow electric bikes and scooters on certain city parkland trails, a practice that is currently banned (not that anyone seems to care). From now until September, you can scoot or e-bike on the Johnson Creek, Shoal Creek (south of 15th St.), and Northern and Southern Walnut Creek Trails, as well as on the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail and the Boardwalk along Lady Bird Lake (e-bikes only). During the program, the city will monitor usage to get feedback, update trail signage, and mount a public education campaign.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More scooters
New Study Shows How Scooters Can Hurt
New Study Shows How Scooters Can Hurt
City works with CDC to analyze injuries to riders; Lege weighs in

Austin Sanders, May 10, 2019

The Scooters Are Not for Crimes
The Scooters Are Not for Crimes
Scooter and cellphone data lead to Austin teen's arrest for bank robbery

Mike Clark-Madison, Feb. 1, 2019

More by Nina Hernandez
Indoor Skydiving Lets You Train Your Dragon in Virtual Reality
Indoor Skydiving Lets You Train Your Dragon in Virtual Reality
Taking to the skies with iFly's latest immersive VR

March 27, 2019

New Study Changes City Council's View of Flood Risk
New Study Changes City Council's View of Flood Risk
Puzzling over a variance on Avenue D, and spending the first of the 2018 bond funds

March 15, 2019


scooters, dockless mobility, Austin Transportation Department, UT baseball, David Hamilton, Parks and Recreation Department, open data, trails, Johnson Creek, Shoal Creek, Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail, Walnut Creek

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle