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E-scooters will return to Portland. (GeekWire Photos / Kurt Schlosser)

Portland transportation officials are recommending that the city launch a longer pilot for rentable electric scooters in 2019, building on a four-month test run with the new mobility devices last year.

Officials in Portland approached the scooter-sharing craze with caution. They permitted a limited number of Bird, Lime, and Skip scooters on city streets for four months, requiring the companies to share detailed data on ridership and safety. Riders took more than 700,000 trips during the initial pilot, according to a report released by the Portland Bureau of Transportation.

PBOT ran the initial pilot to study whether the scooters could reduce traffic, prevent fatalities and injuries on Portland streets, reduce pollution, and help underserved Portland residents get around.

Transportation officials discovered that travelers often chose scooters over personal cars or companies like Uber and Lyft. But they are concerned about improperly parked scooters and believe they are too fast to be driven on sidewalks. PBOT also said the scooter companies struggled to comply with regulations requiring them to serve under-resourced communities.

Overall, the initial pilot was promising but PBOT needs more time to assess whether scooters can help Portland accomplish its mobility and environmental goals. The new pilot will launch sometime in the spring and last one year, according to The Oregonian.

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