In latest decades, shared electric powered scooters (e-scooters) have taken towns about the environment by storm. But how are people today utilizing this new method of transportation? Searching for to fully grasp the possible impacts of e-scooters on land use, infrastructure and sustainability objectives, researchers have some new appealing facts to share on e-scooter buyers, checking out the interaction between demographics, behaviors and excursion applications.
Funded by the Countrywide Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) and led by Kristina Currans and Nicole Iroz-Elardo of the University of Arizona and Reid Ewing of the University of Utah, the study combines a person study with on-the-ground observations to characterize the use and security of e-scooters. The analysis workforce also integrated college students Dong-ah Choi, Brandon Siracuse, and Torrey Lyons of the College of Utah and Quinton Fitzpatrick and Julian Griffee of the University of Arizona. The remaining report presents insights into what drives the behaviors of individuals applying e-scooters, as well as people walking, biking and driving when e-scooters are present.
Gathering Data On E-Scooter Customers
Together with a literature critique and a evaluate of current company restrictions, the researchers analyzed benefits from an on the web survey, administered by way of the Town of Tucson in the wintertime of 2019-2020 (prior to COVID-19 lockdowns later that spring). The on the web survey gathered data on mentioned choices (e.g. no matter if men and women described driving on the sidewalk, or at night) and regardless of whether e-scooters had been substituted for other modes of transportation. Furthermore, they appeared for info on how crash ordeals corresponded with demographics and using behaviors.
Upcoming came on-the-ground information selection. Scientists and college students noticed people today using e-scooters in Tucson in January of 2020 this knowledge assortment work was quickly curtailed by COVID-19 similar lockdowns. In Salt Lake City, the crew conducted observations in Fall 2020 and Spring 2021, as soon as e-scooter excursions began rebounding. They examined how transportation infrastructure — especially bicycle lanes, the existence of light-weight rail, and the dimension of the facility — relates to observations of non-best behaviors for diverse mode end users (e-scooters, bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorists), and all those behaviors for e-scooter end users involved:
- using on sidewalks,
- using in car or truck travel lanes,
- violating website traffic alerts,
- distracted using,
- driving without having a helmet,
- getting two or extra passengers on a single scooter, or
- leaving a scooter parked improperly (for case in point blocking the sidewalk).
Researchers also recorded the actions of cyclists, pedestrians and motorists. For far more aspects on the observation protocols and the research websites, see chapter four of the last report.
How Does Infrastructure Affect Travel Actions?
For the two e-scooters and bicycles, the type of infrastructure can have an effect on how folks ride. Based mostly on observations, a few styles emerged:
- When bicycle lanes had been offered, e-scooter riders generally utilized the sidewalks a lot less.
- When light rail tracks had been present, sidewalk driving took place at comparable premiums with and without having bike lanes.
- On wider roadways, e-scooter and bicycle users the two appreciably gravitated in the direction of sidewalks.
Researchers chose their examine sites in order to realize how infrastructure connected to actions for different manner customers. They gathered data at 5 distinctive kinds of intersections in Salt Lake Metropolis.
The scientists offered a poster on this at TRB 2022: Results of Intersection Style and design on Non-Best Behaviors of E-Scooter and Other Customers. Although the existence of multimodal infrastructure does issue, inadequate separation from much larger auto facilities could outweigh the use of “acceptable” facilities in the decision making course of action. This suggests that extra exceptional behaviors are very likely to come about not exactly where permitted, but the place infrastructure furnished is perceived to be protected.
Demographics also play a function: In phrases of crash activities, more mature respondents (40-60 decades aged) ended up considerably much less probable to have expert a crash as opposed with more youthful riders (<30 years of age).
Other E-Scooter Behaviors
With the advent of a new form of transportation, there are many different behaviors to consider with regards to safety, how users might combine with other modes, and how to end their trips on these micromobility devices.
Helmets are legally required for e-scooter riders. Not surprisingly perhaps, the reported use of helmets in the survey (21% at least some of the time and 13% while riding) far outweighs the researchers’ observations in Salt Lake City (2%) or Tucson (2%).
A substantial portion of e-scooter riding in Tucson appears to be supporting more recreational travel. In fact, e-scooter trips appeared to generate new restaurant activities. This finding is commensurate with other research which indicates that active transportation travelers tend to spend more money at convenience stores, drinking establishments and restaurants.
E-scooter trips that were substituting for transit travel were more frequent for people with lower incomes or who were older than 30 years of age, but especially for those older than 60 years of age.
Of the 292 total parked e-scooters observed in Tucson, 76% of all e-scooters were well parked. 17% were improperly parked, and approximately 7% were questionably parked (meaning either there was ambiguity about the rules or a lack of context in the photo). Each vendor has their own mechanisms to educate chargers and riders about properly parking scooters it is likely that parking might vary by vendor. Parking may also vary greatly in neighborhoods without designated parking zones.
Implications for Policy and Practice
The findings from this study can be used to inform policy and practice in a myriad of ways. The safety and infrastructure-related findings can help decision-makers to prioritize and revise regulations and requirements for new micro-mobility options in mid-sized cities. The information on usage behavior can help practitioners advance the integration of new technologies into transportation systems to improve overall safety and performance. Finally, the insights with regard to modal substitution may provide evidence to support considering micro-mobility options as a feasible strategy for reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of short-trip travel.