Bolt’s European Parking Survey: assessing the public perception of scooter parking
May 5, 2023
We surveyed how people in Germany, Portugal, and Norway perceive shared scooter parking. Has it gotten better or worse over the past two years? Do misparked scooters remain an issue, and if so, what should be done to address it?
Zooming in on the survey
Last year, we commissioned the International market research group, IFOP, to survey people in Germany, Portugal, and Norway to understand their thoughts on shared scooters (regardless of operator or brand) and scooter parking.
The survey focused on four main topics:
Scooter parking quality;
Key concerns around poor scooter parking;
Reasons for scooter misparking;
Through a survey was conducted in 3 different European countries and 12 cities, we identified common trends among almost 2,500 participants and will share our key findings below.
Scooters are a popular means of transport for many
The survey showed that shared scooters remain a popular mode of transport. More than a third of respondents in Germany and Norway and a quarter in Portugalhave rented an e-scooter.
In all three countries, the percentage of users is significantly higher in the capitals than the national average.
Overall, most respondents who have rented an e-scooter are under 44 years of age. This indicates that younger generations highly influence the e-scooter market.
Despite concerns about poorly parked scooters, people have seen improvement over the past 2 years
The survey results show a clear improvement in the quality of parking and public space management of micromobility services.
More than half of respondents in Norway, a quarter in Portugal, and almost 20% in Germany saw significant improvements in the quality of e-scooter parking in public spaces.
These positive changes can be attributed to several factors, such as:
A better understanding of parking rules among users compared to past years, notably due to awareness raising and training efforts aimed to improve riders’ parking and safety skills;
New product features aimed at higher parking compliance, such as an AI end-of-ride picture recognition system;
Reactive, efficient, and improved operational solutions for preventing and correcting poor parking;
Increasing enforcement of parking rules through sanctions.
However, concerns about poor e-scooter parking remain. Respondents in all 3 countries shared similar opinions regarding the negative impact of poor parking on accessibility — wrongly-parked scooters are seen as impeding vulnerable groups, older people, and people with disabilities.
Besides accessibility, a significant proportion of people (46% in Germany and 41% in Portugal) consider poor parking to undermine the image and perception of shared mobility.
Regarding the most problematic form of incorrect parking, the most highlighted issues concern scooters parked on pavements and in bike lanes (66% in Germany, 65% in Norway, and 49% in Portugal) and knocked over e-scooters (41% in Portugal, 24% in Germany, and 21% in Norway), both constituting clear obstacles in public space.
Lack of knowledge of rules and insufficient parking space are considered the key reasons for poor parking
As for the reasons leading to scooter misparking, respondents believe that the main reason is a lack of knowledge about correct parking and unclear parking rules.
Similar proportions of users and non-users agree on the reasons behind poorly parked scooters.
In addition to a lack of knowledge of parking rules, it’s worth highlighting that a significant proportion of respondents claim that a lack of parking space contributes to poor parking (41% in Portugal, 24% in Germany, and 21% in Norway).
As for the lack of dedicated public parking spaces — a third of the population in all 3 countries considers city e-scooter parking space limited. And the proportion of respondents gets higher in all 3 capital cities.
People would convert car parks into micromobility parking spaces
When asked about possible solutions for improving the quality of parking, respondents highlighted 4 potential solutions:
Increasing micromobility parking spaces by converting car parks into scooter parking areas;
Installing parking racks in specific city areas to facilitate parking among users;
Applying penalties to users not respecting the rules;
Making parking rules more straightforward.
Converting car parking space into dedicated space for micromobility
With regards to increasing public parking space, a significant percentage of respondents (42% in Germany, 67% in Portugal, and 44% in Norway) said they’d prefer turning car parks into scooter parking spaces instead of pavements.
With 1 car parking spot able to fit up to 10 scooters (and up to 7 e-bikes), it only seems fitting to free up some of this precious space.
The city of Zaragoza, Spain, where Bolt currently operates, has converted almost one thousand car parking spots into bike and scooter parking areas as part of its urban plan to reduce space dedicated to cars.
This approach enables cities to address the lack of micromobility parking spaces and improve the quality of micromobility parking while freeing up space for more sustainable mobility solutions.
Installing racks in specific city areas
We agree that designated parking racks in specific city locations are an efficient solution for tackling the parking issue. As an example, we developed parking infrastructure — parking racks and charging docks.
Our experience in the cities where we installed charging docks shows that cities can create an efficient system for proper micromobility parking and encourage the use of electric vehicles even further.
Collaboration between operators and cities is a crucial success factor in guaranteeing optimal locations and high utilisation rates.
Applying penalties to those not respecting the rules
Despite all preventive and incentive measures to promote correct scooter riding and parking practices, unsafe riding behaviour remains.
Our data show that 98% of our scooter and e-bike riders behave responsibly, and only 2% demonstrate poor riding and parking habits.
To tackle this issue, Bolt has recently developed the Reckless Rider Score. The score’s based on data picked up by scooter sensors and features on behaviours such as tandem riding, repeated abrupt braking, skidding, poor parking, and more.
We use the score to educate users on proper riding and parking practices. We take action according to our three-step policy — from warning to account suspension — for users who repeatedly demonstrate unsafe behaviour.
Making parking rules clearer
Local parking rules might vary between cities. Therefore, it’s critical to ensure the visibility of rules and their specificities at the local level.
From day 1, we’ve been promoting safe scooter parking and educating our users online via in-app guidance and outdoor campaigns — constantly adapting our efforts to local specificities.
Bolt’s actions in view of public concern
Results show that despite tangible improvements in scooter parking practices over the past 2 years, there’s still room for improvement. Thus, in close collaboration with local authorities, local operators must take further action.
The findings mentioned above are instrumental in helping us and local policymakers to understand where to focus efforts to improve parking.
Challenges remain, but we’re on the right track
Among the elements listed above, we’re happy to see that all the shared priorities noted by respondents resonate with our holistic approach and its 5 strategic components: