Anyone trying a Lime scooter for the first time can’t believe how fast they go. It’s a great analogy for the pace at which exciting new mobility options are hitting our streets. That the University of Waterloo was picked as the first campus in Canada to pilot the sustainable e-scooters shows just how fast Waterloo is emerging as Canada’s leader in mobility technology.   

A lime scooter in front of an LRT stop
The age of car-dominance is ending. Few predict automobiles will become extinct, but they will likely become just one choice amongst many in how we get around our cities. There probably isn’t a more visceral example of this shift than the east side of campus.  
Students on e-scooters zoom past the $4.5 million research facility for autonomous vehicles currently under-construction near the Engineering 7 building. The shiny new light rail transit trains glide along beside them. On the other side of University Avenue is the sprawling parking lot A which looks more and more like a relic of the past as the next generation of commuters buzz past on e-bikes, scooters, fixed-gear cruisers and on-foot.    
“The way we get around is changing. These emerging trends in mobility are partly due to new technology, but also changing attitudes. People of all ages want healthier and more sustainable ways to get around,” says Jennifer Dean, a professor in Waterloo’s School of Planning. “More mobility options beyond the automobile mean physically healthier communities, but also more inclusive and socially connected communities.” 
Dean’s pioneering research helped establish that seniors’ independent mobility, physical activity and social interaction were significantly enhanced when given the opportunity to travel on motor assisted e-bikes. Now, she’s turning her attention to policy and how governments can clear a path for new forms of mobility to be implemented safely as well as enhance existing transportation options for sustainably-minded or health focused populations. 

“When the city of waterloo and R+T Park collaborated with lime for the e-scooter pilot last fall, we were excited by the opportunity to examine how e-scooters may be integrated into the existing transportation networks and eventually the new LRT system. The pilot also provides a novel opportunity for students to learn about early adoption of new micro-mobilities and the implications for other road and trail users.” says Dean. “Now that the scooters are officially active on campus, Waterloo becomes a living laboratory for studying micro-mobility in the Canadian context.” 
In particular, her project will help set the recommendations for how e-scooters should be incorporated into the Ontario highway traffic act and in similar legislation in other provinces across Canada. 
The scooters, which have a top speed of 23km/h off campus, would be limited to 15km/h on campus. The scooters are deployed at designated locations starting 7 a.m. each day and are removed from pilot boundary after 9 p.m. This map shows where the vehicles will be avilable for pickup.

The cost is $1 to unlock a scooter and $0.30 per-minute to ride. Lime accepts all insurance liability for those using their scooters and riders are prompted to use a helmet while riding the scooters.    
“While Waterloo was eager to pilot the project, there was also careful consideration about its impact on campus and in particular students’ safety,” says Mike Pereira, manager of business development at Waterloo’s David Johnston Research + Technology Park. Pereira who helped shepherd the first phase of the pilot with the city of Waterloo, is now helping facilitate its expansion to campus.  
“Lime could have chosen any campus in Canada to try this, but they chose Waterloo because of our history of technological experimentation and our reputation for being open-minded to adopting and studying the latest mobility technology,” say Pereira.  
The pilot project on Waterloo campus ends August 16th.