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Chicago is a top city for bike share and scooters, study says

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Car trips in the city could be cut by 51 percent with better micromobility options, says a new INRIX report

A Jump e-scooter parked on the sidewalk corner near L tracks with a colorful mural in the background Shutterstock

Chicago trails only Honolulu, New Orleans, and Nashville among U.S. cities that could benefit the most from micromobility transit options.

Shared bikes, e-bikes, and electric scooters have the potential to reduce Chicago car trips by more than half, according to a new report from INRIX—a Washington state-based transportation data and analytics company.

The study crunched the numbers of more than 50 million car trips taken in October 2018 and found that 48 percent of all trips in the most congested U.S. metros are under three miles long. Scooters are frequently used for short-distance trips under a mile-and-a-half, according to the National Association of City Transportation, while bike commuters normally travel less than three miles at a time.

Twenty-two percent of all car trips in Chicago are less than a mile long, 17 percent are 1 to 2 miles, and 12 percent add up to two or three miles. The study added all of these vehicle trips together and determined that 51 percent of them could be taken by scooter or bike—leading to less traffic congestion, reduced emissions and a boost to the local economy.

The study also took into account a city’s density, public transit network, topography, and climate. Honolulu, New Orleans and Nashville made the top three because had a high number of car trips under three miles plus a warm climate and are relatively flat.

Last month, DePaul University’s Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development released an in-depth study of one day of Chicago’s four month electronic scooter pilot program and found that the average length of a scooter ride was two miles. The most recent data available from Divvy (2015) also estimates the average trip length at two miles.

A blue graphic of the United States map that shows how cities are ranked. Chicago is fourth behind Nashville, New Orleans, and Honolulu. Image provided by INRIX