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Howard County Developing Permit Process for Scooter Sharing

January 15, 2020

Media Contact:
Scott Peterson, Director of Communications, Office of Public Information, 202-277-9412

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – 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 3-2020. The update will also add the definition of electric low speed scooters, bringing the County Code into agreement with the State Code.

“Over 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 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 of 2020. 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.

“E-scooters can provide an additional transportation option and extend the reach of our transit system, but they do need to be managed and operated in a responsible way to keep our streets, sidewalks and pathways safe. This permit process will help accentuate the positives and minimize any negatives of shared electric scooters in Howard County,” said Howard County Office of Transportation Administrator, Bruce Gartner. 

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

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