Step 4: How to Regulate

Cities have sought to regulate dockless mobility through permitting, memorandums of understanding, and even taken requests for proposals to see what companies can do for them.

Memorandums of Understanding (MOU)

MOU’s can be extremely useful for cities who are curious about E-scooters and want to establish a relationship with an e-scooter provider. A MOU allows a city to test the waters, without having to enact regulations.  MOUs provide insight for companies to see what types of concerns particular cities are facing, and how the company can tailor their product to deal with specific concerns. For example, the city of Alexandria, VA recently adopted one of these types of agreements.

Other examples include: Arlington, VA and Detroit, MI.


Permitting has by far been the most ubiquitous type of city regulation on dockless mobility across America. There are nearly two dozen cities which require scooter companies to have some form of permit before being allowed to operate in their cities. And this number is growing rapidly.

E-scooter mobility permitting schemes vary dramatically–and rightfully so. The concerns cities face in San Diego are entirely different than the concerns cities face in Atlanta. This table provides useful insights into what some cities have done, and what requirements they impose on their permitting schemes.

Requests for Proposals

RFP’s allow municipalities to outline formal requirements for pilot programs or dockless transportation operations within the city. Some examples of these requirements from the Kansas City RFP include data sharing requirements in monthly reports. These reports include the median daily number of small vehicles in service, total unique users, total miles covered, demographics, average rental duration and total number of rides.

Other cities, like Knoxville, TN and St. George, Utah have also opted to test the waters in this manner.