Arcadis is one of the world’s leading providers of design and consultancy, driving innovation in the design,
delivery and operation of built and natural assets – with our mission and passion being to improve quality of life.
Within this, one key area of focus for us is supporting the development of strategy, design, implementation and optimisation of mobility (core, new and future) for the benefit of the people that operate, use and are impacted by transport.
As a global organisation (28,000 staff operating in 70 countries), we have access to insights from our international clients and partners. Our motivation for sharing these insights with the Transport Committee, in line with our mission, is to help inform the UK’s decision on whether and how to introduce e-scooters in the UK in a way that will maximise the positive environmental, public health and accessibility benefits.
To enable this, our evidence is provided in response to the following specific questions:
Arcadis conducted a study of the whole-life environmental impacts resulting from the operation of dockless e-scooter sharing companies in Paris in 2019. The headline figures suggest that on average over its lifecycle, an e-scooter in Paris emits over 105g CO2 equivalent/km/user. The chart below shows how that figure compares to a range of other modes, with an e-scooter producing more CO2 g equivalent/km/user than an electric bus and a hybrid bus and only marginally less that a car shared by 3 people (comparison figures provided by ADEME).
Figure 1. GHG emissions in CO2 g eg./passenger/km for different forms of transport in Paris November 2019
The chart below shows the breakdown of this level of CO2 equivalent per km per user by lifecycle activity.
Materials and production (60.5g eq. CO2/user/km)
Pick-up for recharging (39.5g eq. CO2/user/km)
Charging energy (0.65g eq. CO2/user /km)
e-scooter in use (2.5g eq. CO2/user/km)
End of life (2.5g eq. CO2/user/km)
Figure 2. Breakdown of GHG emissions in CO2 g eq./user/km for e-scooters in Paris in November 2019
This chart shows that nearly 60% of the CO2 equivalent emissions come from production including extraction and production of raw materials, manufacturing process and transportation from manufacturers to cities where the scooters operate, and a further 37% from non-riding operations (i.e. pick up e-scooters around the city, recharge, re-distribution and repairs). Otherwise, the diagram shows that GHG emissions from electricity consumed by the batteries and scooter riding is marginal.
While comparing e-scooter emissions with other forms of transport, the data shows that e-scooters produce less emissions per passenger km than buses, motorcycles and diesel cars, and close the emissions produced by single occupancy electric cars.
Type of Transport
Emissions (g CO2 eq per passenger km)
RER in Paris
Tramway in Paris
Metro in Paris
Electric RATP bus in Paris
Electric car (one driver)
Motorcycle, under 750 cm3 cylinder
Motorcycle, over 750 cm3 cylinder
Diesel car (one driver)
Table 1. Comparison of emissions CO2 g eq./user/km by mode type
1. These figures suggest that environmental regulation for the build of e-scooters, including more stringent requirements on the place of manufacture and a minimum percentage of recycled materials in these devices, would significantly reduce the whole life environmental harm. As a comparison, ADEME indicates that the production of recycled aluminium emits 14 times less Co2/kg than non-recycled.
2. In addition, over the last six months, operators in Paris have made significant efforts in terms of maintenance and repair of used parts – mainly to reduce their operating costs, however, the positive environmental consequence of this would be to extend the operating life for e-scooters.
3. Also, optimising operating efficiency by reducing the need for pick-up and transit for recharging by requiring or encouraging riders to leave the scooters at dedicated recharging points, or by using electric vehicles for pick-up.
Our evidence suggests that, in a context of a two-year life span and optimal collection conditions, applying these 3 measures would help reduce the kilometric impact to around 30g equiv. CO2/user/km. Through a combination of national regulation for the manufacture and import of e-scooters to the UK and local licensing for the operation of e-scooter sharing companies, significant gains in the environmental impact can be achieved.
In this response we present evidence and insights from studies from the US.
Arcadis recently completed a study for Washington DC District Department of Transportation (DDOT) to analyze trip data for Bird, Skip, Spin and Lyft e-scooters and Jump e-bikes, and to understand the usage of the shared micromobility and its impacts on public transit. The detailed results are yet to be published, but at a high level, we found that the average trip lengths for e-scooters are significantly shorter than for e-bikes. In Washington, e-bikes are more likely to be used as a door-to-door mode, while e-scooters are more commonly used for first-and-last-mile journeys to subway stations, especially outside the city centre.
3.2 Survey results from US cities suggest a positive benefit from e-scooters by encouraging mode shift from automobiles (own vehicle and taxi/ride hail), although these are somewhat offset by those that shift from walking and cycling to e-scooters.
Survey results from San Francisco MTA [see chart below] show 41% of shared e-scooter user survey respondents indicate that they would have taken an automobile mode had a scooter not been available. These benefits are however offset by e-scooters replacing cycling and walking trips. Thinking of their last e-scooter trip, 40% of respondents said they would have either walked (31%) or cycled (9%) had e-scooters not been available.
Portland Oregon’s Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) survey shows that:
E-scooters replaced personal car and ride-hailing trips.
Thinking of their last e-scooter trip, 34% of participants said they would have either driven a personal car (19%) or hailed a taxi, Uber or Lyft (15%) had e-scooters not been available.
The auto trip replacement numbers were even higher among tourists and visitors.
Thinking of their last e-scooter trip, 48% of visitors would have taken a taxi, Uber or Lyft (34%), and 14% would have driven a personal vehicle had e-scooters not been available.
Portlanders reduced or considered reducing their auto ownership due to e-scooters.
6% of users reported getting rid of a car because of e-scooters and another 16% were considering doing so.
3.2.3 Case study – Chicago, US
Survey results for Chicago DOT [see table below] show that nearly 43% of Chicago survey respondents reported that if an e-scooter had not been available, they would have either used a ride-hailing service or driven a personal vehicle, indicating e-scooters’ potential to decrease dependency on automobiles. However, 30% indicated that they would have walked, and over 14% reported that they used e-scooters to replace a public transit trip.”
SFMTA survey results report that “On their last trip, 34% of survey respondents used the service to get to or from public transportation. Nearly 28% of respondents would not have taken transit if a scooter was not available, but used the service to connect to transit. 7% of respondents would have taken transit had a scooter not been available, and did not use the service to connect to transit. On their own, these data show that scooters induce transit trips at roughly 4 times the rate that they replace transit trips, indicating that they could complement transit by serving as a valuable last mile connection.”
3.3.2 Case study – Chicago, US
“The data [see table overleaf] showed the potential for e-scooters to be utilized for commuting purposes and connecting to transit. Respondents who reported using e-scooters at least three times a week were most likely to report commuting by e-scooter and using e-scooters to connect to public transit. Less frequent e-scooter users were shown to use e-scooters more often for recreation, applying to residents and visitors alike. More frequent users rode e-scooters to work and to connect to transit.”