Could scooters boost your home value?
David Richter, chief business officer of Lime, the e-scooter startup, believes so. The former Uber executive raised the possibility at Fortune's Brainstorm Tech conference on Tuesday that streets decluttered of cars and cleared for other lightweight transportation options may lift real estate values.
"Whether at Uber or Lime, I've been surprised by the degree to which real estate entities want this to happen," Richter said on stage in Aspen, Colo. "They will get greater value from the real estate they already own because they won't have to allow 'X' number of parking spaces for people either residing or leasing space."
Richter views bikes, ride-sharing services, and, of course, scooters as replacements for traditional automobile ownership. With fewer cars parked curbside, cities and other neighborhoods could be redesigned and beautified, thereby potentially increasing the value of the surrounding environs. (Just ignore the strewn-about scoots.)
Aicha Evans, CEO of Zoox, a self-driving car startup based in Foster City, Calif., who also spoke on the panel, noted that the status quo in urban transportation creates terrible traffic congestion. The former Intel executive said that about 30% of traffic cruising through cities is due to people circling around looking for parking.
Ken Washington, the chief technology officer of Ford, another panel participant, said he had recently visited San Jose, Calif., whose mayor has been an enthusiastic supporter of self-driving cars and other alternative transport. "In new developments, they're not building parking garages," Washington said. Instead, he said, the city is laying its plans with new mobility options in mind.
"We're convinced, if you think of transport ecosystems in the future, it's going to look very different," Washington continued. There is going to be "ride services for package delivery, it's gonna have intelligence in the environment, and you're gonna see vehicles not sitting idle 96% of time," meaning parked.
In most cities today, "we are beholden to our past ways," Richter said. But there are places that offer a glimpse of the future, he said, pointing to European cities such as Berlin and Copenhagen as being ahead of the pack.
"If you travel outside the U.S., specifically in Europe, it’s a very different ballgame," Richter said. Across the Atlantic Ocean, so-called micromobility, or lightweight transportation modes like scooters and bikes, "is already a very real thing."
"Even Aspen here is great," Richter said. He recommended picking up one of the Lime scooters scattered outside the Aspen St. Regis hotel, where Fortune's conference took place, and scooting over to Aspen Meadows, a 40-acre local resort nestled in the Rocky Mountains. "It's not that far away by scooter, but quite a bit away if you're walking," he said.
"Give it a try."