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Moving forward, what role should dockless mobility play in Austin?

Danielle Skidmore

City Council, District 9

Dockless mobility provides a real opportunity to increase the number of people who forgo driving their cars for short trips. It also helps solve the ‘last mile’ problem with traditional public transportation routes. Since the dockless bicycle and scooter companies are providing the equipment and running the services, it requires very little investment on the part of the city.

The deployment of dockless mobility must be regulated, but the city permitting process should be as efficient as possible, focusing on how many vehicles can be deployed and how to avoid obstructions of public right of way. There should be flexibility in the permitting process to meet market demand, but also avoid too many vehicles saturating the city.

Our city’s bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, which already needs to be expanded, must also be designed to accommodate these uses. Safety of users and other pedestrians can be enhanced with the same rules that apply to bicycles.

Finally, as a person who is frequently pushing a wheelchair for my son, I want to say that I hear the concerns of the disability community about the potential danger of obstructions (for mobility and visually impaired individuals). To mitigate these issues, incentives and penalties of the dockless providers and users should be created to reduce the conflicts. Quite honestly, for each scooter or bike that has been in our way, there have been dozens of other obstructions—such as lack of ramps, dumpsters, utility poles, cars, trash cans, etc. Despite challenges, dockless mobility devices and their potential revenue stream to the city—through permit and use fees—generate more resources to help improve our overall bicycle and pedestrian networks.