e-Scooters have made quite the splash this summer in Calgary. Having adopted two fleets of scooters, Lime and Bird, they’re everywhere you turn in the city. One thing you may not know is that the City of Calgary is tracking where you go when you’re scooting around the city.
According to CTV News, city officials in Calgary are collecting location data from every single trip you take on an e-scooter. Both Lime and Bird scooters are fully equipped with GPS and 3G technology that allows the city to see where you are.
Andrew Sedor, spokesperson for the City of Calgary told CTV News that the city collects your speed, route, origin, and destination. This data is very valuable to city officials for a number of reasons, he explained. But, Calgarians might also see that as a negative. Who actually wants to be tracked when they're out and about?
The data transmitted by the scooters helps create maps of where and how fast riders are going. The reason for the tracking and for the creation of these maps is to cultivate better decision-making and smarter planning, said Sedor. Though that all sounds good for the city, we're not sure that everyone will feel comfordable with their personal data being shared.
The tracking will help the city work towards safer streets and more people choosing to bike or scoot rather than drive, Sedor told CTV News. Overall, the data collected is hoped to contribute to future ride-sharing programs and city planning.
If the city can see what routes people like to take, they can choose to focus on the infrastructure in those locations. Improved infrastructure on common routes is exciting, but this could also be determined through polls or opt-in tracking.
In addition to location tracking, the city, the scooter companies, and Alberta Health Services are tracking how many injuries happen on the scooters.
If you’ve heard anything about the e-scooters, you’ve likely heard that there have been tons of people scooting themselves right into the ER. Earlier this month, Global News reported that 60 people had already visited the emergency room with scooter-related injuries. This was just two weeks after the scooters hit the streets. Many of the injuries were fractures, and some were head injuries.
The City of Calgary announced this two-year e-scooter pilot program back in July. The program intends to focus on “sustainability, health and the environment,” according to the announcement. The scooters fit into The City of Calgary's Action Plan, "City that Moves, A prosperous City, A healthy and green city as well as The City of Calgary's Cycling Strategy and helps achieve The City mobility goals.”
So, if you’re cool sharing your whereabouts with the city, you might see your go-to routes getting makeovers in years to come. If you're not, you might not want to ride the e-scooters. If you do, be careful out there. Many of us haven’t scooted since the Razor Scooter days, so wear a helmet and take it slow.
Since publication, the City of Calgary told Narcity that "the travel data is completely anonymized and we don't collect people's personal information." Therefore, only your location and speed will be shared with the city along with any reported accidents or injuries.