Tallinn restricts e-scooter parking

  • August 28, 2023
  • William Payne

A pilot project that designates parking spaces for rental electric scooters has been launched in Estonian capital Tallinn. If successful, the trial in collaboration with electric scooter rental services Bolt and Tuul, will result in e-scooters being restricted to mandated parking bays.

The parking areas are shown on the mobile apps of the service providers. These areas are also marked with road markings in the city. Depending on the location, some of the parking stations in the pilot area (51 places) are located on the edge of the road or replacing parking spaces to leave more room for pedestrians. Parking areas on the road are marked with bollards in addition to road markings to better ensure the safety of the users.

The parking behaviour of users will be monitored throughout the pilot project. The pilot also aims to determine the most effective parking space markings.

E-scooter parking has created problems for pedestrians in cities across Europe. In Paris during the recent riots, e-scooters were thrown into bonfires by rioters. In London, e-scooters have been recognised as a significant problem, and legally can only be parked in designated bays, with geofencing technology employed to ensure compliance.

Tallinn has suffered similar problems with e-scooter parking. According to Tallinn Deputy Mayor Vladimir Svet: “Scooters parked carelessly on sidewalks are a particular concern for people with reduced mobility, the elderly and parents with pushchairs.” He said the City’s priority was the rights of pedestrians. Collaboration with the rental companies could ensure greater safety for pedestrians. “We will be able to find solutions that ensure the safe movement of pedestrians with the help of the companies,” said Svet. We will analyse the results of the changes and consider various potential locations for creating more parking facilities in the future, with the assistance of companies that provide these services. I believe that by working together, we can enhance the safety of people using light traffic roads and improve the quality of our shared street space.”

Suitable parking areas have been planned in collaboration between the Tallinn Transport Department and Tuul and Bolt. The trial area has been launched in the City Centre, covering Toompuiestee, Kaarli puiestee, Pärnu maantee, Laikmaa tänav, Rävala puiestee, Liivalaia tänav, Suur-Ameerika tänav, Endla tänav and Tehnika tänav. The parking spaces will be marked with a car park ID (such as A55 or B23).

According to Tuul CEO Jaan Kekišev, more and more people have discovered that scooters are an environmentally friendly, convenient and fast way to navigate the city. “A study conducted by the Estonian Transport Administration revealed that over 200,000 people used rental scooters in the past year,” said Kekišev. “The demand for scooters is growing. It makes sense for the city to adapt and find ways to accommodate them in our shared urban space by collaborating with partners. While this change will of course affect the flexibility of scooter use, we must be willing to make compromises and try new things to find a solution that works for everyone. We hope that the pilot project will be successful so that we can base our future decisions on the learned lessons and received feedback. This way, we can work towards creating a better city space for everyone.”

Bolt Head of Public Policy Henry Arras said that Bolt is pleased to be one of the leading parties in a project that aims to enhance the infrastructure for scooters and bicycles and city space development as a whole. “Tallinn has set the target of reducing traffic-related emissions by 40% before the year 2035, while also increasing the use of public transportation, walking and cycling by 70%,” said Arras. “Electric scooters help in cultivating the habit of choosing alternative means of transportation over personal cars. This reduces traffic congestion and makes it possible for people to do their everyday activities in fresh air. In conclusion, this improves the city space for everyone.”