2018 National Planning Conference

Innovation or Disruption? Electric Scooter Chronicles

Sunday, April 14, 2019 from 1 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. PDT

CM | 1.25

Activity Type: Educational Sessions

Activity ID: NPC198087

Location: 2002

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  • Explore where cities go from here in terms of pulling back regulation or increasing regulation on dockless transportation options.
  • Think about what a city street should be, for whom, for what.
  • Consider whether and how private companies have a hand in redefining city streets.


Electric scooters appeared on the hilly streets of San Francisco almost as fast as the fog on a chilly spring morning. Scooters offer a nontraditional way of getting around town. A few companies offer scooters in the Bay Area: Bird, Lime, and Spin. These scooters are not the nostalgic nonelectric vehicle of the past. They are larger and reach up to 15 m.p.h. Arguably, scooters are good for cities because they do not create emissions or traffic and they are a convenient alternative to taking a car or relying on public transportation, which for some is not always convenient. However, regulating these electric scooters has become tricky. We are in the era of 2010 again, when Uber and Lyft arrived and gave regulators a bag full of mixed emotions and left them unsure of their next move. Explore where cities go from here. How do cities answer the questions, What should a city street be? For whom? for what? Do private companies have a hand in the answer? How can electric scooter companies achieve their goals, without getting caught at a red light?

Session Speakers

Ozzy Arce
City of Walnut Creek
Oakland, CA

Danielle J. Harris
San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA)
San Francisco, CA

Emilie Wolfson
Urban Planning Partners
Oakland, CA

Calvin Thigpen
San Francisco, CA