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February 6, 2019 -
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Love them or hate them, chances are good chance that if you live in a major U.S. city, the new trend of dockless shared electric scooters is coming to a street corner, sidewalk, park, or parking lot near you. Electric scooters are part of a micromobility trend that includes shared bicycles. Users sign up through an app that tells them where scooters are located. Then they pay a fee to unlock the scooter and a per-minute fee to use the scooter. How can facility managers prepare their buildings and grounds for this quickly growing trend? Here are a few tips. At their worst, because users can leave scooters just about anywhere, the vehicles clutter up sidewalks and parking lots, creating trip hazards for building occupants. For that reason, managers should designate electric-scooter parking zones near an entrance or near already-existing bike racks. Managers can make this designation clear with a new policy document and task a staff member with cleaning up scooters if users leave them in places other than designated parking areas. Managers also can create clear signage emphasizing the policy and showing scooter users where they can park. On college or large corporate campuses, managers might need to draft a scooter traffic policy to ensure that they do not block pedestrian access to sidewalks. This step can help keep pedestrians safe from collisions with scooters. The University of California Riverside uses this policy. Another option is simply to ban scooters outright, as Cleveland State University has, citing safety incidents in other cities.
Greg Zimmerman is executive editor of Building Operating Management. Read his cover story on how buildings are tackling climate change.