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Howard County developing permit process for scooter sharing

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Howard County is developing a permit process to allow electric scooter sharing companies to operate in public areas, such as pathways, streets, sidewalks and bike lanes, based on best practices and experiences of Baltimore City, Montgomery County, and Washington D.C.

To enable the permit process and fee, Howard County is pursuing legislation to update the County Code that is currently under consideration by the County Council, as Council Bill C3-2020. The update will also add the definition of electric low speed scooters, bringing the County Code into agreement with the State Code.

“[During] the past year, we have worked towards a more multi-modal community by funding $2.2 million for bicycle infrastructure projects, passing complete streets legislation, expanding RTA bus hours and routes and now developing a permitting process for electric scooters,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball. “We’re planning ahead to ensure that when scooters do arrive, they are safe, accessible and work within our current infrastructure.”

The electric scooter sharing system permit process will be managed by the Howard County Office of Transportation and is expected to begin in May. The permit will dictate the parameters that the scooter sharing companies must operate under, including the speed of the scooters, where they can be parked, minimum and maximum quantities, operator response time, data sharing, insurance requirements and permit fees.

Scooter sharing companies have recently expressed interest in operating in Howard County, specifically in the areas of Downtown Columbia and Gateway Business Park. In preparing for scooters, the county has reached out to major landowners and destinations in the Columbia and Columbia Gateway area to address their concerns and the county plans to work with other stakeholders on this new program.

For more information, contact the Howard County Office of Transportation, 410-313-4312, transportation@howardcountymd.gov.

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