Bolt, the largest scooter operator in Europe, and the Institute of Transport Economics, TOI, have shown that in-app encouragement will cause up to 60% of users to shift from ride-hailing to scooters for shorter trips. A shift in mobility habits was observed for long-term app usage as well. In Oslo and Lisbon, users performed additional scooter searches for similar trips after the initial encouragement was performed in-app.
Last year, Bolt ran a pilot program aiming to switch shorter ride-hailing trips to scooter trips. During this modal shift study, randomly selected groups of Bolt customers from 10 European cities have received in-app encouragement to switch from ride-hailing to a scooter for trips shorter than three kilometers. Groups actively encouraged were compared to groups that didn’t receive the encouragement, which allowed scientists to measure the shift in mobility habits.
The data resulting from the three waves of piloting was then independently analyzed by the Institute of Transport Economics, TØI, in Oslo, Norway. According to the final results, up to 60% of users on average shifted from a ride hail to a scooter for short trips if the scooter was 300 meters away or closer.
The implications of the findings are considerable. In Europe, most car trips are less than five kilometers long. Around 25% of Bolt car-hailing trips globally are shorter than three kilometers. This means that encouraging users to adapt their shared mobility option to their trip distance has a considerable impact on the environment. According to Bolt’s data, a scooter’s CO2 emissions are on average three times lower than a car’s CO2 emissions.
Martin Villig, Co-Founder of Bolt said: “Bolt is on a mission to advocate for better cities built around people. Encouraging customers to use scooters to replace personal vehicles and short car trips is part of that mission. We are constantly working with cities to make sure our scooters fit in the urban transportation ecosystem. The report we are launching today confirms that our app is the ideal tool to help build more sustainable commuting habits because customers can be encouraged to shift from cars to scooters, according to the distance they travel. This can significantly reduce pollution but also help manage urban congestion.”
The most successful findings come from cities where there is a high availability of shared scooters. In Lisbon, for example, in-app encouragement led to a 210% increase of users opting for a scooter instead of a shared car ride.
Significant results were also observed in the Scandinavian markets: Stockholm (up to 40% bigger chances of the customer opting for micromobility), Gothenburg (54%), Oslo (42%). In Krakow, the encouragement increased the probability of using a scooter up to 68% and in Madrid 41%.
Bjørn Gjerde Johansen, Chief Research Economist at the research area Economic Models at the Institute of Transport Economics, TØI said: “TØI carries out research aiming to advise authorities, the transport industry and the public at large. This report analyses data from an experiment in which Bolt`s app-users were encouraged to switch from ride hailing to e-scooters. We found the share of users choosing e-scooters to be higher in virtually all experiments and the results demonstrate that encouraging users through changing information in multimodal interfaces can be an effective way of switching users away from cars, at no cost to the user.”
Aisling Dunne, Head of Public Policy for Ireland, said: “This research is aimed at advising authorities, the transport industry and the public at large. It shows that multi-modal platforms have the power to nudge people towards more sustainable and appropriate modes of transport, depending on their needs. For short journeys, where there are alternatives, we now unequivocally see that users will make the switch. As local authorities across Ireland consider the best way to meet our ambitious Climate Action Plan targets, this research shows them the potential for shared mobility services to really shift users’ behaviour.”
Bolt and the Institute of Transport Economics will continue to work together on a modal shift program aimed at improving mobility habits for cities.
This project is aligned to the approach of the new European Urban Mobility Framework released in December 2021. The framework considers new mobility services as part of a multimodal, integrated approach to sustainable urban mobility, reinforcing public transport and substituting car use. By working to build a modal shift program, Bolt is contri