c-tedd@uta.edu +1 817 272 5138

Project Details

Author(s) James Wood, University of Texas at Arlington
Co-Author(s) Shima Hamidi, University of Texas at Arlington
CTEDD Funding Year 2019 SEED Grant
Project Status Complete
UTC Funding $52,916.64

SummarySummary

Personal electric scooters (also called e-scooters) have quickly gained attention in Western cities as a novel means of transportation. As community leaders seek a new generation of mobility options, e-scooters represent great promise but also considerable complexity. These privately-funded vehicles operate generally without much regulation, and many of the platforms require no fixed charging stations. Also, e-scooters can be parked wherever a user wishes to leave it. This has the potential to create obstacles on sidewalks or in the public right-of-way, a problem compounded by a general lack of enforceable regulation in cities. In addition, these motorized devices are often operated in cities without designated travel paths, leaving riders to use bike lanes or the sidewalk. Cities must therefore find a way to ensure safe ridership and sensible integration of this mode into the broader transportation network. At the same time, equity concerns around e-scooters have simmered in media and political circles. It remains unclear whether e-scooter providers are making conscious or structured efforts to attract lower-income or elderly riders to their services, despite the e-scooter’s potential to give these populations a much-needed new option for personal mobility. These challenges, and the lack of scholarly investigation into how cities and e-scooter providers might be addressing them, are the core focus of this study. This project investigates how e-scooters are impacting the regulatory, planning, and infrastructure processes in American cities, as well as the ways in which cities and providers are (or are not) partnering to advance shared goals of safety and equity. Relying on stakeholder interviews and content analysis of relevant materials, this project proposes a set of practice-ready reforms that will aid cities in establishing a baseline for effective management of e-scooters. In addition, the project provides a guidebook on equity and social empowerment geared toward helping e-scooter providers supplement their plans in order to more effectively attract and retain customers from the broadest possible spectrum of age, ability level, and socioeconomic status. By documenting how American cities are managing e-scooters, this project will contribute to a newborn literature on e-scooters. And by providing both public officials and private-sector interests with the tools to work toward a more equitable, safe, and durable network for e-scooters, this project will contribute practical solutions to a new and growing urban problem.

Downloadable Documents