Scooting to a new era in active transportation — ScienceDaily

In latest several years, shared electric powered scooters (e-scooters) have taken cities all over the earth by storm. But how are folks using this new manner of transportation? Trying to get to realize the possible impacts of e-scooters on land use, infrastructure and sustainability aims, researchers have some new attention-grabbing info to share on e-scooter consumers, discovering the interplay amongst demographics, behaviors and journey reasons.

Funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) and led by Kristina Currans and Nicole Iroz-Elardo of the College of Arizona and Reid Ewing of the College of Utah, the examine combines a user survey with on-the-ground observations to characterize the use and protection of e-scooters. The investigate crew also incorporated pupils Dong-ah Choi, Brandon Siracuse, and Torrey Lyons of the University of Utah and Quinton Fitzpatrick and Julian Griffee of the College of Arizona. The ultimate report delivers insights into what drives the behaviors of persons applying e-scooters, as perfectly as individuals walking, biking and driving when e-scooters are existing.

Gathering Facts On E-Scooter Users

Together with a literature overview and a evaluate of present agency rules, the scientists analyzed results from an on the net study, administered as a result of the Town of Tucson in the winter season of 2019-2020 (prior to COVID-19 lockdowns afterwards that spring). The on-line survey collected details on mentioned tastes (e.g. whether individuals documented using on the sidewalk, or at night) and whether or not e-scooters ended up substituted for other modes of transportation. In addition, they appeared for information and facts on how crash encounters corresponded with demographics and riding behaviors.

Up coming came on-the-floor data assortment. Scientists and pupils noticed people riding e-scooters in Tucson in January of 2020 this info selection work was shortly curtailed by COVID-19 relevant lockdowns. In Salt Lake City, the crew carried out observations in Drop 2020 and Spring 2021, after e-scooter visits began rebounding. They examined how transportation infrastructure — especially bicycle lanes, the existence of light rail, and the dimensions of the facility — relates to observations of non-optimum behaviors for distinct manner buyers (e-scooters, bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorists), and all those behaviors for e-scooter buyers provided:

  • driving on sidewalks,
  • driving in automobile journey lanes,
  • violating traffic indicators,
  • distracted riding,
  • driving devoid of a helmet,
  • getting two or far more travellers on 1 scooter, or
  • leaving a scooter parked improperly (for case in point blocking the sidewalk).

Researchers also recorded the conduct of cyclists, pedestrians and motorists. For additional facts on the observation protocols and the analyze sites, see chapter 4 of the final report.

How Does Infrastructure Influence Vacation Conduct?

For each e-scooters and bicycles, the form of infrastructure can affect how individuals trip. Primarily based on observations, a several styles emerged:

  • When bike lanes ended up obtainable, e-scooter riders frequently utilised the sidewalks considerably less.
  • When gentle rail tracks were being current, sidewalk riding happened at similar premiums with and with out bicycle lanes.
  • On wider roadways, e-scooter and bicycle end users both appreciably gravitated to sidewalks.

Researchers selected their study web-sites in purchase to recognize how infrastructure linked to behavior for different manner end users. They gathered data at 5 distinct styles of intersections in Salt Lake Metropolis.

The researchers offered a poster on this at TRB 2022: Consequences of Intersection Design and style on Non-Ideal Behaviors of E-Scooter and Other Buyers. Although the presence of multimodal infrastructure does make a difference, insufficient separation from larger sized auto amenities may well outweigh the use of “appropriate” services in the selection building process. This suggests that much more best behaviors are likely to occur not the place permitted, but where infrastructure offered is perceived to be safe and sound.

Demographics also play a purpose: In terms of crash activities, more mature respondents (40-60 years previous) were a lot considerably less probably to have knowledgeable a crash compared with younger 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

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%).

Trip Types

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.

Parking

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.