Are Scooters Really as Sustainable as Mass Transit? Yes, Says ITF Report

There’s good news for urban sustainability advocates this week. 

“Energy use and GHG emissions from shared micromobility are comparable in magnitude to those of metros and buses.”

Those are among the key findings in the International Transport Forum’s (ITF) recently released environmental report on new mobility. Using updated global data contributed by mobility operators like Bird, the 89-page study finds that shared scooters, bikes and mopeds emit about as little carbon dioxide per passenger mile as mass transit vehicles. Privately owned e-scooters like the new Bird Air are a highly sustainable option as well, using “significantly less energy and emit[ting] much less GHG per person-kilometre over their life cycle than cars.”

The biggest polluters, according to the ITF, are ride-hailing services: “Ridesourcing vehicles and taxis have the highest energy and GHG emission impacts per passenger kilometre of all urban mobility options.”

The findings support the conclusions drawn in Bird’s 2020 life cycle assessment, which was conducted with the help of CEA Consulting and an independent consultant from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. According to our LCA, Bird Two’s carbon emissions are about 82% lower than ride-hailing vehicles and 75% lower than personal cars. 

We know there’s still more work to be done, but the signs are encouraging. At 97.2 grams of CO2 equivalent emitted per passenger mile (gCO2e/pmt), the environmental impact of Bird Two is around 40% lower than the lifetime emissions of an average shared e-scooter, as determined by the ITF. 

Our team of former aerospace and automotive engineers will continue to put sustainability at the forefront of new vehicle designs, as these types of innovations “are especially important for improving the environmental performance of shared micromobility” according to the ITF study. 

You can download a PDF of the full report here, and don’t forget to subscribe to the Bird Cities Blog to stay up to date on the latest micromobility news and information.