The City of Helsinki and the operators of shared e-scooters have agreed on measures intended to decrease the negative phenomena associated with these scooters. The most visible changes in the streetscape will be the parking spaces for scooters which will appear in the next few weeks. The results of this experiment will be followed up on during the summer. The City of Helsinki Urban Environment Committee will discuss the parking model in its meeting on 29 March 2022.
Parking spaces and parking patrol are among the first solutions to be tested
Shared e-scooters have quickly become a part of a more sustainable traffic system, alongside city bicycles. However, the parking of these vehicles has caused problems particularly in the city centre. Together with five operators, the city has designed a parking model including measures for both the city and the operators.
The city will assign 25 locations for operators' parking spaces and racks. The total number of parking spaces is around 400. They will be located in those areas with the most scooters and where the majority of the problem situations have occurred. The cityscape and traffic safety have also been taken into account when selecting the locations. Another selection criterion used was to discourage users from riding the scooters on the pavement.
No rent will be charged from the operators for the parking places. The operators will be responsible for the costs of the parking spaces and the racks. Information boards with a recap of guidelines for using the e-scooters will also be installed near the parking locations.
In addition, the operators will establish a joint parking patrol, tasked with keeping the scooters in order both on the streets and in the parking places. It will still be possible to park the e-scooters outside the parking spaces, but the renters of the scooters will have to take a photo of the parked scooter. The operators will review these photos and will impose a monetary penalty for any clear violations of the parking rules. The operators will also develop incentives for parking the scooter on the appropriate parking space.
“We have been developing solutions together with the operators in smooth co-operation, taking into account the feedback provided by the residents last year. We will monitor the effects of these measures during this season, and based on these experiences, the model will be further developed for the next year. The e-scooters emerged quickly on the streets, and it will take time for both society and the individuals to get used to this new mode of transport”, says the department manager, Heikki Palomäki.
The operators will also monitor the number of e-scooters
Last year, approximately 8,000 scooters in total were in use on the city streets during the busiest summer season. In addition to the joint parking patrol, each operator has their own logistics system, and as a part of the experiment, they have committed themselves to removing within 24 hours any scooters from the city centre that have been unused or out of service for 24 hours.
The speed limits agreed last autumn are still in effect
Together with the operators and the Ministry of Traffic and Communications, the city is participating in a research project organised by Aalto University, studying a broad range of phenomena related to e-scooter use. One of the most central research topics is traffic safety and e-scooter accidents.
The usage limits set by operators last autumn are in effect until further notice. During weekend nights from 12 am to 5 am, the scooters are removed from service completely. In the daytime, the speed limit is 20 km/h, and on weekdays from 12 am to 5 am the maximum speed of the scooters is limited to 15 km/h. As the research project proceeds, these usage limitations may be adjusted in the spring.
Source: City of Helsinki, Urban Environment Division