E-scooters, other micromobility device rentals could come to Springfield this summer


The electric scooter rental industry is one of the most rapidly growing and changing industries in the country. Recognizing growing public interest in e-scooter companies as well as a variety of challenges experienced in other communities, the City of Springfield is developing a framework to provide for the safe and efficient operation of e-scooter companies within city limits.

The rental of bikes, electric scooters and other small devices is categorized under the transportation umbrella known as micromobility. From 2010 to 2018, studies show there were 207 million total rentals of micromobility devices across the U.S. E-scooters accounted for 38.5 million rides in 2018 alone, representing a significant rise in usage and popularity.

“As experienced in other communities, e-scooters can present potential benefits and drawbacks. They’re fun and provide a perceived economic benefit. They can be used as alternate transportation and can reduce the need for vehicles in certain capacities,” said Public Works Traffic Engineer Brett Foster. “However, e-scooters can be dangerous when not operated correctly, they’re often left in inconvenient spots and can block sidewalks and driveways. If not well managed in a community, e-scooter rentals have the potential to become a public nuisance and eyesore.”

Foster said the City has heard from e-scooter rental companies Bird and Lime over the past few years as those companies determine whether Springfield is a viable market. City staff have reached out to Missouri State University, the Downtown Springfield Association and the Downtown Community Improvement District to find out how to make e-scooter rental work in Springfield.

The City’s plan involves making long-term changes to the City Code to provide safe, efficient and economically viable operation of micromobility companies here. Code changes may require companies to sign a cooperative agreement outlining certain restrictions and operational guidelines. The development of these code changes will combine input from stakeholders, micromobility companies and the public.

“We expect to present our suggested code changes to City Council this spring,” Foster said.


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