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Podcast: Talk Policy To Me

Episode 206: Talking Dockless Scooters

Dockless scooters: last-mile mobility solution or temporal tech experiment?


Streets littered with bicycles and scooters represent the latest skirmish between Bay Area city administrators and the technology sector. In a region ready to confront carbon emissions and ready to embrace pedestrian-friendly streets, scooters have become the next item in an evergreen local debate on what mode of transport should dominant city streets, who should decide, and how to keep city residents safe.

San Francisco’s proximity to the hub of the technology sector makes it a “petri dish” for experimentation, says Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez, transportation reporter for the San Francisco Examiner in conversation with UC Berkeley public policy student Reem Rayef about the issues that surround scooters. But—while Bay Area tech companies seek to be a major player in urban transportation with its disruptive technologies, municipalities often have other goals in mind.

Tune into this lively conversation on how cities are responding to scooters, how companies are trying to get around city regulation, when local residents revolt against new technologies—and whether scooters really are a better way to get around.

Speakers featured on this epsiode

Brianne Eby is a policy analyst for Eno, where she conducts research on various topics related to the transportation industry. She has written at length about what dockless scooters mean in the context of reduced carbon emissions, disruption of car culture, equity in public transit, and increased investment in public transportation infrastructure. Prior to joining Eno, Brianne conducted research on transportation behaviors as a graduate student, and on helping cities and metropolitan regions achieve inclusive and sustainable growth as a research assistant at the Brookings Institution. Brianne earned her B.A. in Psychology from Indiana University and her M.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Colorado-Boulder. Follow her on Twitter: @brianne_eby.



Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez covers transportation for the San Francisco Examiner. Joe is a long time San Francisco resident and pretty obsessed with transit, so he has followed (and written about) the scooter issue closely. He also writes the weekly political On Guard column. Reach him at joe@sfexaminer.com. Follow him on Twitter: @FitzTheReporter.