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Shared Community Mobility in Austin, TX: Lime Scooters

    Several other members of the SCLS Technology Team and I ventured to Austin, TX for the annual SpiceWorld Tech conference this week. Something that I found rather notable was not at the conference itself but was whirring all around the city. They were these bright green-colored electric scooters associated with a company called Lime.

    Lime sets out to offer communal modes of transportation through the form of scooters, bikes, and transit vehicles to provide people with available access to short distance travel. On the Lime website (www.li.me), it appears that some of the purposes of this initiative is to reduce dependence on personal automobiles and, thus, reducing the negative effects of emissions and general traffic. 

    What we saw was a large number of these scooters sporadically parked all around the city. It would seem that a person could jump on when they found one (for a fee) and then ride to their destination and then park the scooter there. There were definitely a lot of these scooters around and we saw many, many people riding them.

    After referencing the Lime website here is how it works. You must first download the app to your mobile device. You then can see on a live map the locations of various Lime vehicles. Once you have found the Lime you wish to ride, you will scan the QR code on the vehicle to unlock (in Austin it was $1 to unlock the scooter). You then ride to your destination (in Austin this was 15c per minute). When you are done you just park and lock the vehicle. Now you might be asking how these e-vehicles stay charged. It looks like it is entirely made up of with volunteers that collect the vehicles and charge them independently. They do get paid to do this of course.

    It was very interesting to see these Lime scooters on the streets and it seemed to be quite a popular way to get around the city, especially among the 18 to 30 age range. I had never seen anything like this at least in the sense of the vehicles being parked literally anywhere and everywhere. As far as Wisconsin is concerned I was surprised to see that Green Bay is one the locations with Lime transportation. I am not too sure how these scooters or e-bikes would fair in the winter but if you are ever in the area, check it out!

Image result for lime scooters


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