Visitors who use e-scooters see more local attractions and spend more money making them an attractive value add for cities according to a new study from Griffith University’s Cities Research Institute in partnership with Neuron Mobility.

By comparing the shopping and travel patterns of visitors and residents who used Neuron e-scooters, the researchers found visitors spent more money in Townsville each day between December 2020 and February 2021.

The more avid e-scooter users (the top third by kms travelled) would spend 42% more per day than those in the bottom third of use and completed an average 11 trips while in Townsville, covering nearly 26km.

Lead researcher Dr Abraham Leung says the mobility offered by e-scooters made it easier to explore a city.

“When we mapped where visitors went on e-scooters, they pursued more diverse local destinations in the city. “

“While some trips could have been completed by walking, it would have taken longer and would have limited the total number of destinations visiting during their travels. Other trips wouldn’t have happened at all on foot.

“Of these visitors, avid users spent more money at restaurants, cafes and on dining experiences. Light users tended to spend a greater proportion on shopping and services.”

Visitors are less dependent on cars improving the experience

Dr Leung said e-scooters had a positive impact on visitor’s experience by reducing their need for cars.

“Many of these users said they did not need to use a car thanks to the e-scooters, meaning they were able to travel through the Townsville CBD and the Strand without clogging the already busy roadways.”

When surveyed about ease of use, over 90% reported it was effortless to use and 69% of respondents said they had never ridden an e-scooter before.

The demographic results also challenge a major misconception of e-scooter riders being young and mostly men, finding instead more than 47% were over the age of 40 and over half of these visitors were women.

While visitors tended to be very positive about their e-scooter experience, some wanted to see an expansion of the service area in Townsville and signage at preferred parking locations to assist drop-offs.

Destination cities could benefit from adopting e-scooters

Transport Academic Partnership Chair at Cities Research Institute Dr Matthew Burke says the results confirm that e-scooter mobility schemes offer tourists an enjoyable and convenient way to explore any city.

“These mobility schemes change the dynamic in tourist destinations by encouraging greater dispersal of tourists and more spending while exploring.”

“For other cities still considering whether to implement them, our findings show e-scooters can positively boost your tourism economy and your city’s image by increasing mobility and reducing congestion on major roads.”