Op-ed: Lessons from the Awkward Life and Death of the Segway

By Katarina Hall Nolan Gray

Published:

The “personal transporter” promised to change cities back in 2001. It didn’t. But its demise should be a warning for today’s urban mobility disrupters.

In late June, Fast Company broke the news that Segway Inc. would end production of the Segway PT, the self-balancing two-wheeled “personal transporter” that was the company’s most iconic product, if not its most commercially successful. Once touted as the first great invention of the new millennium, it officially ends its nearly 20-year-long production run on July 15 as the butt of more than a few jokes.

But was the Segway really such a failure? Or was it just two decades too early? In light of the current proliferation of e-scooters, e-bicycles, e-skateboards, and hoverboards, the electric urban mobility revolution that Segway promised seems downright prophetic. And its death holds important lessons for Segway’s would-be heirs.

Read the full op-ed at Bloomberg CityLab

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CGO scholars and fellows frequently comment on a variety of topics for the popular press. The views expressed therein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Center for Growth and Opportunity or the views of Utah State University.