National Academies Press: OpenBook

E-Scooter Safety: Issues and Solutions (2022)

Chapter: Chapter 1 Introduction

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. E-Scooter Safety: Issues and Solutions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26756.
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1 RESEARCH RESULTS DIGEST BTSCRP RRD1 E-Scooter Safety: Issues and Solutions This digest presents results from Phase I of BTSCRP Project BTS-10, “E-Scooter Safety: Issues and Solutions.” The digest identifies emerging behavioral safety issues arising from the expanding use of e-scooters and summarizes how communities are working to prevent and mitigate injuries. The research was conducted by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in conjunction with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Safe Streets Research and Consulting; Equitable Cities; and Populus. Laura Sandt is the principal investigator. Richard A. Retting is the Responsible Senior Program Officer. C O N T E N T S Chapter 1 Introduction, 1 Chapter 2 Study Methods and Data Sources, 2 Chapter 3 E-Scooter Context and Safety Issues, 2 Chapter 4 E-Scooter Injuries and Crash Context, 7 Chapter 5 E-Scooter Program Safety Management Practices, 13 Chapter 6 Stakeholder Practices, Gaps, and Safety Issues Identified, 17 Chapter 7 Conclusion, 19 References and Bibliography, 21 Authors, 24 SEPTEMBER 2022 BEHAVIORAL TRAFFIC SAFETY COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Many communities with electric-scooter (e-scooter) programs have observed social, health, and envi- ronmental benefits; enhanced multimodal connec- tions; and positive economic impacts (such as those derived by delivery services and couriers using e-scooters and the resultant jobs created). How- ever, these effects are often accompanied by real and perceived safety challenges. Safety concerns include issues such as • Improper e-scooter parking; • E-scooter riders who are inexperienced, dis- tracted, reckless, or impaired; and • Fear related to harassment and crime. Improper e-scooter parking creates risks for people using wheelchairs; pedestrians; older adults; people who are blind or have low vision; and pedestrians living in areas with limited sidewalk space, which may include low-income and minority communities. Each of the concerns listed can result in increases in crashes, head trauma, and other injuries requir- ing medical attention. These outcomes jeopardize the reliable safety and comfort that are critical for attracting rider support and maintaining a success- ful program. Given the need for policymakers to respond quickly to emerging technologies and changes in public demand for micromobility, many entities have sought to document noteworthy practices and develop guidance for managing micromobility pro- grams. However, the data and research tools available to evaluate programs have lagged behind the rapid adoption and expansion of e-scooter programs. Much of the micromobility literature to date has focused on travel behaviors, usage trends, and data needs via short-term pilot program evaluations (typi- cally of programs as a whole, and not specific policies or measures), as well as near-term planning and policy-setting opportunities (such as permitting pro- cesses, regulatory models and fee structures, and ser- vice area and device density considerations). There remain significant gaps in knowledge regarding • E-scooter users’ perceptions of safety and injury risks; • Incidence of injuries and risks relative to other travel modes; • Differential treatment of racial minorities by law enforcement; and • Current safety management practices, frequency of application, and measures of equity and gen- eral effectiveness. As the technology and local practices related to e-scooter use rapidly evolve, there is much to learn regarding how safety concerns for e-scooter users overlap with or diverge from those of other road- way users and what effective safety management practices are in place or are needed. This Research Results Digest aims to 1. Describe the overall state of use or exposure and safety trends among e-scooter users and markets; SPONSORED BY THE GOVERNORS HIGHWAY SAFETY ASSOCIATION AND THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION

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Many communities with electric‐scooter (e‐scooter) programs have observed social, health, and environmental benefits; enhanced multimodal connections; and positive economic impacts (such as those derived by delivery services and couriers using e‐scooters and the resultant jobs created). However, these effects are often accompanied by real and perceived safety challenges.

The TRB Behavioral Transportation Safety Cooperative Research Program's BTSCRP Research Results Digest 1: E-Scooter Safety: Issues and Solutions is an initial deliverable to a larger ongoing project, in the form of a literature review, that identifies emerging behavioral safety issues arising from the expanding use of e-scooters and summarizes how cities are working to prevent and mitigate injuries.

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