26 May 21

Singapore: e-scooters can replace public transport

E-scooters are great for plugging the last-mile gap. But could they also replace short-distance transit by public transport? A Singapore-based study says yes – and not just in the city-state itself, but in urban centres around the world. 

In a few short years, e-scooters have become a fixture in Singapore (pictured), and indeed of cityscapes the world over. Compact, low-cost, and hassle-free, the electrified two-wheelers are now the preferred micro-mobility mode for millions, used to plug last-mile gaps in inner-city journeys.

A Singapore case
However, a recent study by the Future Urban Mobility unit of the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (Smart), found that e-scooters can do much more than complement regular public transit services. In fact, they could also be used to replace a certain segment of those transit services themselves, notably the ones providing short-distance transport. 

The study, titled E-scooter sharing to serve short-distance trips: A Singapore case, found that e-scooter use compares favourably to certain types of short-distance transit in terms of cost, transit time, and walking distance. This increases their appeal as genuine alternatives to these transit modes. 

Shortcomings highlighted
“(This) study has highlighted the shortcomings of public transport in serving short-distance journeys in the Singapore Central Area. E-scooter sharing services are able to bridge this gap and provide convenient micro-mobility service to the public,” the study’s lead author Zhejing Cao is quoted by SmartCitiesWorld. 

E-scooters are still a fairly new phenomenon, and a lot of their potential remains untapped, especially in the area right beyond the last-mile gap. The study aims to inform operators, planners and policymakers on how to regulate and use that potential to meet user demand and resolve traffic bottlenecks. 

Image: Shutterstock

Authored by: Frank Jacobs