Superpedestrian’s LINK e-scooters change the game for micromobility in Rosslyn
We sat down with Superpedestrian at O2, Rosslyn’s outdoor office, to talk about what separates LINK Scooters from the flock.
A note from the BID: LINK offers Rosslyn residents and employees an alternative (and socially distant) way to get to, from, and around the neighborhood. Please follow the safety tips listed at the bottom of this article when riding, and check out Arlington County’s list of scooter corrals to find the best parking spots!
Somewhere along the streets of Rosslyn, you’ve probably noticed an abundance of electric scooters that seemingly appeared overnight. Whether you’re an avid rider, or just observed them in the bike lane, they’re hard to miss since they began popping up in our neighborhood in 2018. And this trend toward micromobility — a term used to describe lightweight vehicles, including bikes and scooters — is projected to be here to stay.
But if you’re local to the Arlington area, you might have noticed a new player in the game: LINK e-scooters. Superpedestrian, an early pioneer in the micromobility space, launched LINK Scooters in the U.S. in the summer of 2020, and most recently in Arlington County. The BID’s Business Engagement team sat down with LINK’s Ben LaRocco, Director of Government Partnerships, and Christopher Berg, Operations Manager, at Rosslyn’s outdoor office space, O2, to discuss Superpedestrian and the decision to make the move into Arlington.
An engineering company determined to get it right.
Founded out of MIT, Superpedestrian is a transportation robotics company with a lot of experience building lightweight vehicles, so the transition to scooter sharing felt obvious. But the engineers on Superpedestrian’s team saw a lot of issues with the models on the market that made them unsafe and unstainable. So Superpedestrian set out to reinvent the existing widely-used models, which required two years of engineering and refinement.
The result was LINK. With the ability to travel roughly 55 miles on a single charge while requiring little maintenance, these e-scooters are also more compliant with city rules around parking and no-ride zones. They’re designed to work with cities, thanks to technology that encourages safe riding and protects public spaces, and, most importantly, they’re built to keep riders safe through constant performance monitoring and built in speedometers (an Arlington specific requirement).
LINK finds a home in Arlington County.
LINK scooters have been deployed in the U.S. and Europe (you can find them in Rome, Italy!), and Arlington is the most recent addition to the list. But why? As locals to the DMV region themselves, Berg and LaRocco both recognized the value in Arlington as a dense residential market with good regulatory policies. Plus, it’s just a happening place!
“From the campuses in different neighborhoods, to the corporate scene in Rosslyn, Arlington is reflective of the growing desire people have to make cheaper, more efficient lifestyle choices,” LaRocco noted. “The County has been investing in bike lanes and infrastructure for a long time, so it was a matter of bringing the right technology to the right place.”
And as “America’s Fittest City,” Arlington’s locals are already geared toward being outside (Rosslyn is home to almost 50 miles of trails and over 50 acres of open park spaces!). Even more so now as people get used to remote work, there’s a need to find creative ways to enjoy the outdoors. With the way the pandemic has changed people’s routines on such a wide-scale, e-scooters offer an alternative way to reimagine your routine. These e-scooters provide a mode of transportation that’s safe, efficient, and saves you from parking tickets when you’re in a rush!
A vision of a future that gets people outdoors!
For Berg, who has been in the D.C. area for about 14 years, there’s no better way to get to know the city, and people are leaning into this scooter tourism more and more. While there are fewer commuters heading into offices everyday, Berg and LaRocco say that people are taking longer trips, and using LINK as just a good way to get outside.
In fact, this urge to get outside and enjoy a change of scenery to break up the remote workday was the inspiration behind Rosslyn’s outdoor workspace, O2, where this interview took place. We were able to use this space to conduct a safe, socially distanced interview while enjoying the fresh-air. Not to mention, LINK’s scooters made for an easy, scenic commute!
But more importantly, the boom in micromobility is a vision of what cities might look like without cars as the primary mode of transportation. The trend toward e-scooters offers an affordable, efficient alternative, so grab your helmet and your mask, and see what it’s like to be a scooter tourist in your own city for a day!
Follow these tips for a safe scooter ride: Wear a helmet; don’t drink and ride; one rider per scooter; ride in a bike lane when available; always be aware of pedestrians and cars; park mindfully, don't block sidewalks, crosswalks, or handicap ramps or entrances to buildings; and have fun!
Disclaimer: Gateway Park is a “no-park” zone for e-scooters in an effort to keep public spaces free, so the scooters photographed inside the park were for promotional use only. Additionally, Rosslyn’s property managers are encouraged to contact Arlington_Ops@link.city with any parking issues or concerns.