Smart Transport

Newcastle to start e-scooter trial in early 2021

Newcastle City Council will launch its 12 month e-scooter trial early next year in partnership with Neuron Mobility.

Around 250 of Neuron’s e-scooters will be made available for use in the city, subject to Department for Transport (DfT) approval.

The e-scooters are GPS-enabled and Neuron and Newcastle City Council will use geofencing technology to control where they are ridden and parked, and how fast they can travel in certain areas by creating slow-zones, no-ride zones and no-parking zones.

Each e-scooter will be fitted with a unique license plate for easy identification and to promote responsible use.

Neuron will deploy a dedicated safety team as part of the trial.

They will be armed with hospital-grade disinfectant to keep e-scooters and helmets clean and germ-free.

Teams will be moving e-scooters to where they are needed most, assisting new riders with signing up on the Neuron app and will deliver practical tips for safe riding.

Cllr Arlene Ainsley, cabinet member for transport and air quality at Newcastle City Council, said: “We’re looking forward to working with Neuron to develop our proposals for an e-scooter trial in Newcastle.

“Reducing transport-related carbon emissions and air pollution is an urgent priority and this trial would help us to understand what role e-scooters could play in helping us to achieve this.

“We know that e-scooters must be safe and used responsibly, and therefore there are strict requirements on both the operator and on those using them to ensure that high standards of health and safety are met.”

Neuron’s N3 e-scooters, already proven across Australia and New Zealand -- and more recently in Slough in the UK -- have been purpose-built to a commercial grade, specifically for renting.

They have visibly larger, 11.5-inch wheels and wide footplates.

The e-scooters feature an app-controlled Helmet Lock which secures a safety helmet to the e-scooter, electronically releasing it to use at the start of the booking.

As well as the Helmet Lock, Newcastle riders will benefit from voice guidance to educate and warn them of how to travel safely; a “Follow My Ride” feature which allows riders to share their trip with friends and family in real time for added safety and peace of mind; and a 999 emergency button which can tell if someone has had a fall, then help them call the emergency services.

The company will use a topple detection feature that alerts Neuron’s operations team if an e-scooter has been left on its side so it can quickly be repositioned safely. There will also be a range of ‘smart parking’ initiatives to control and promote safe parking.

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