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Electric Scooters Are Here To Stay

Transcend CEO Patrick Braswell
Transcend CEO Patrick Braswell

Technology fads in real estate come and go. Remember when virtual reality was going to transform the industry? Or key fobs were the wave of the future?

VR has yet to really catch on in a big way, and key fobs are so 1990s. But the newest PropTech fad may actually be more of a societal seismic shift that is here to stay: electric scooters.

“I have to go to meetings all over the city. The traffic in New York City is crushing. To get 10 blocks can take up to 45 minutes,” Camber Creek General Partner Jeff Berman said.

Berman purchased his own electric scooter and can now travel that same distance in 10 minutes. For car-clogged city streets, he said it is a convenience that just cannot be matched. Transcend CEO Patrick Braswell echoed those sentiments.

“To me, the answer to the traffic problems are these scooters,” Braswell said.

Patrick Braswell
CEO 
Transcend 
Sandy Selman
Co-Founder 
CPROP

 
Matt Knight
Principal 
Shadow Ventures

Jeffrey Berman
General Partner 
Camber Creek
Shadow Ventures principal Matt Knight, CPROP co-founder Sandy Selman, Camber Creek General Partner Jeff Berman and Transcend CEO Patrick Braswell chat about tech innovations in commercial real estate.

The dawn of the rentable electric scooter provider certainly has come with its complications. Scooter companies operate in 65 cities in the U.S., often appearing overnight and without local input, according to a Vox report.

Some complain that scooter users clutter sidewalks with the devices, blocking wheelchair ramps, and weave through crowds and ignore traffic rules. That has led to certain cities banning their use or severely limiting the number of companies that can operate.

That issue was highlighted this past summer in a Curbed Atlanta article, which even showed a picture of someone riding an electric scooter on the Interstate 75/85 interchange through the city.

Some panelists at Bisnow's event bemoaned that lack of regulation and infrastructure that will eventually be needed to handle scooter travel. But like the car's first years in public, when there were no traffic laws and people often got hit wandering the streets, public policy will eventually catch up and better police scooter use in cities, Braswell said.

“There will be regulation and there will be ways to figure out where they're allowed,” he said.