City of Tucson Makes E-Scooter Program Permanent

The City of Tucson Department of Transportation and Mobility selected Spin and Razor to participate in a 12-month e-scooter program with enhanced safety and education requirements, as well as required parking corrals to keep sidewalks clear of obstructions and encourage better riding and parking habits. 

The pilot program, which launched in September 2019, shifted to a permanent program this week.

With an average of 650 daily trips taken on shared e-scooters, and over 430,000 total trips taken during the 18 month-long pilot period, e-scooters offer Tucsonans and visitors new mobility options for short trips that don’t require a car.  

Based on the lessons learned during the pilot program and feedback from residents and community organizations, Tucson updated the permit rules and minimum requirements for e-scooter companies.

To reduce the potential for sidewalk clutter and maintain clear pathways for Tucsonans who are visually impaired and those with disabilities who depend on unobstructed sidewalks, the permit program requires vendors to test out new sidewalk-riding detection technology and increase education and outreach efforts.

Spin will debut its scooters equipped with Spin Insight Level 2, featuring sidewalk-riding detection technology powered by Drover AI. This technology is intended to encourage better riding and parking habits. The system relies on on-board sensors, artificial intelligence and computer vision to detect when riders are on the sidewalk instead of the street or a bike lane. 

The scooters will make an audible sound to tell riders to correct their actions. Riders will also receive an in-app warning informing them that sidewalk riding is prohibited.

Tucson has built in additional enforcement mechanisms into the permit program that gives the vendors a financial incentive to quickly respond to complaints about scooters that are not in use and are blocking the public way or improperly parked. Required parking corrals will be installed in high-ridership zones like 4th Avenue, Downtown, and near the University of Arizona. 

Park Tucson staff will monitor these zones and ticket improperly parked scooters. The public is urged to report any such scooters directly to the company using the phone and online contact information displayed on each scooter.

In selecting the two vendors, the city received and evaluated four complete applications for the 2021/2022 permit and approved the two companies to move forward. The selected companies demonstrated in their applications the ability to meet Tucson’s strict operational, safety and equity guidelines.

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