Louise Baker Sector Leader of Smart Mobility is all for New Zealand's decision to consider running a three-month trial of 700 e-scooters, starting mid-September. However, before we go racing-ahead, the public must boot bad habits.
Louise Baker: Hello E-scooters, they’ve finally made it to our shores! We usually have to wait a while for new mobility to show up in New Zealand but it looks like things are picking up the pace.
WSP has been advising the local government in San Francisco on how to respond to the plethora of new modes, including e-scooters, so we’re watching this space with interest.
E-scooters will be a good way for some customers to make short trips, whether that’s to connect with public transport or get across town. But, as with all smaller, free-floating shared vehicles - whether that’s bicycles, the scooters or whatever mode’s coming next – we really need to nail some housekeeping. It’s important to make sure they don’t clutter up our streets by being left in the middle of footpaths, or across entranceways, and that people know how to use them safely. Secondly, if we’re welcoming them into the transport mix, scooters need to be available where and when transport customers need them. This has to be part of the deal for any operator, as well as providing support to help customers understand how and where to ride an e-scooter safely and legally.
There are challenges ahead as shared- e-scooters and e-bikes find their place in our transport mix and on our streets. These scooters are quiet and quick, and they definitely look like a lot of fun, but we need to be careful that their presence doesn’t make for unpleasant or unsafe walking experiences. I, for one, don’t want an e-scooter crashing into my ankle!
Given these scooters can go 27 km, it’s tempting to say they shouldn’t be on the footpath. However, just as we class people on bicycles and on foot as vulnerable road users, people on scooters – including e-scooters - are also vulnerable, and we certainly don’t want them in with cars and trucks.
This is another example of electromobility demanding that we re-think infrastructure and ensure that regulations are agile, so that our towns and cities are future ready.
Louise Baker, Principal Transportation Consultant.
Louise is an experienced and qualified project manager with a track record of delivering successful projects, the majority of which have been sustainability and transport-focused and a number have won awards.
Louise has lived in New Zealand since 2004, and over the last fourteen years, she has led and managed a project portfolio that has ranged from leadership roles in project governance teams, running project controls for large multi-disciplinary infrastructure design teams through to managing teams delivering transport research and travel plans.
Over the past few years, Louise has been exploring how technology and the digital revolution is changing transport, and what this means for travellers and our transport system, her thought leadership and expertise in this area has led her to present at numerous conferences in NZ and overseas, in 2016 she presented to NZ Parliament twice and she also appeared on Radio NZ National's 'Cities of Tomorrow' panel series.