Personal Electric Transport Wins Again

GeekWire’s Great Race: We pitted cars, bus, bike and skateboard at rush hour, with a surprising result

It’s easier than ever to go car-less in Seattle.

New technology-fueled services are letting people get around the Emerald City in different ways, whether via ride-hailing giants like Uber and Lyft, or car-sharing companies like BMW’s ReachNow and Daimler’s car2go.

As the city’s traffic gets worse with more people moving to the city each day — 57, to be exact — it’s an optimal time for added transportation options. But which is the best? Which is cheapest? Which is easiest? Which should you rely on?

We just completed the Great GeekWire Race to find out.

And I’m going to cut to the chase, spoil the post (were you going to read it?), and show the winner after the break.

Come on. Do you really not know which won after the title I gave this post?

He said:

It’s just cool and fun. It’s also very convenient. With something like the Onewheel or an electric skateboard, I can carry it on the bus, easily bring it into the office, etc. It’s much more portable than a bicycle, but just as mobile. I was able to hit the road faster than anybody else in the race because it was literally just set the board down, turn it on, and go.

The other huge advantage was the ability to slip right past all the traffic. In a car it has taken me 20 minutes or more just to get across Mercer during rush hour, but on the Onewheel I zipped right through. Also, although this route did not have any big hills, a big plus for the Onewheel is its ability to climb up even the steepest hills in downtown Seattle.


It was a five-mile route. Just five miles! Yet it took this amount of time to complete via these modes of transport (plus their prices):

  • Public transit bus: 50 minutes (US$2.75)
  • Personal car: 49 minutes (US$2.54*)
  • Lyft Line: 44 minutes (US$11.67)
  • UberX: 41 minutes (US$18.10)
  • ReachNow: 35 minutes (US$13.11)
  • Spin Bike-Share: 37 minutes (US$2.00)
  • Onewheel+: 31 minutes (free*)
  • *If they’re not going to count the cost of buying a personal car, I’m not going to count the cost of buying the damn Onewheel+!

The Analysis at the end of the post comes to a typically myopic conclusion despite the evidence in front of their own eyes:

Bob Pishue, senior economist at Kirkland, Wash.-based traffic analytics company INRIX, told GeekWire that most U.S. cities are also seeing increased traffic congestion. Though he noted that alternative transportation use in the Seattle region, unlike some other metros, is increasing, from public transit to car-sharing.

Pishue said technology can help reduce congestion; he pointed out smart traffic lights and real-time parking apps.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

Look at that: Nothing but motor vehicles! Not one mention of the supremacy of personal electric transport. It’s as if the winner never even won. The possibility of personal electric transport is never mentioned at all.

This is the battle ahead.

Previously here:

eScooters category

This entry was posted in eScooters. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Personal Electric Transport Wins Again

  1. laura says:

    Nice post! I think personal electric transport definitely has appeal that many have not yet understood. OTOH, I am a little more forgiving about that last comment. It’s true that the personal electric mode of transport won the race because of the congestion. It’s also true that there are ways to reduce congestion that would be beneficial and reduce transit times for vehicular modes of travel. There’s nothing wrong with saying that. However, I agree it would have been more balanced had the authors explicitly concluded that there are at least two ways to attack the problem: reduce congestion or find ways to get around it, such as personal electric transport. They’re not mutually exclusive either.

    • mikecane says:

      On this Island, car traffic has more than doubled in the last 2-3 years. And it’s going to get even worse when large gentrifying projects in progress have been finished. There is no car solution possible for what I’m seeing.

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