Public scooters may soon zip through Philadelphia

The School of Design’s Megan Ryerson assisted with the city’s debate over the scooter as a safe and viable transportation alternative.

Sharable electric scooters are an increasingly popular mode of transportation, both celebrated and scrutinized for their capacity to revolutionize urban mobility. In Philadelphia, this revolution looms closer as Pennsylvania assesses a bill to legalize electric scooters on public streets.

two scooters parked next to a bike rack with bikes parked on a sidewalk

Megan Ryerson, UPS Chair of Transportation and Associate Dean for Research in Penn’s Weitzman School of Design and Associate Professor of Electrical and Systems Engineering in Penn Engineering, is playing a role in educating  the City Council Committee on Transportation and Public Utilities about scooters’ role as an ally in safe mobility, along with scooter companies BIRD and Lime, city officials, and transportation experts and advocates.

By increasing visibility and awareness of alternative modes of transport, including non-motorized transportation, scooters could increase overall mobility and accelerate infrastructure development. Ideally, this type of infrastructure change could help Philadelphia meet its Vision Zero goal of having no traffic deaths by 2030.

According to Ryerson, recognizing electric scooters in Philadelphia could help with larger transportation issues.

“Today, among peer cities, Philadelphia has the dubious distinction of having the highest rate of traffic deaths per capita,” she says. “Complete streets — with protected spaces for vehicles, bikes and scooters, and pedestrians — make movement safer, more efficient, more reliable, and more enjoyable for all.”

Read more on the Penn Engineering blog.