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E-Scooter Safety: Issues and Solutions (2022)

Chapter:Chapter 2 Study Methods and Data Sources

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 Study Methods and Data Sources." 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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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 Study Methods and Data Sources." 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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2 2. Characterize the relationship between e-scooter crashes, injuries, and fatalities and contributing factors (both behavioral and envi- ronmental); and 3. Summarize how cities are working to support, manage, and reg- ulate the use of e-scooters to prevent and mitigate injuries and provide a series of case studies highlighting real-world practices. These results are derived from the work completed during Phase I of BTSCRP Project BTS-10, “E-Scooter Safety: Issues and Solutions.” CHAPTER 2 STUDY METHODS AND DATA SOURCES Drawing from published literature and existing travel survey data, the study to date has used a mixed-methods approach to build a foun- dation of knowledge around e-scooter safety issues and themes. The research team used a web-based survey to collect additional data from key stakeholders regarding existing safety management practices and identified needs. The following sections summarize the study methods and data sources underlying the findings presented in this digest. The research team used keyword searches to identify relevant studies about standup electric scooter injuries, usage trends, and safety management practices. The databases searched were PubMed, Google Scholar, the Transport Research International Doc- umentation database, and Articles+ (via the University of North Carolina Libraries). Keywords included “electric scooter,” “e-scooter/ e scooter/escooter,” “micromobility/micro-mobility,” “injury,” “crash,” and “safety.” The researchers manually reviewed the search results and excluded items that focused only on motorcycles, mopeds, and personal mobility scooters, as these modes do not fit within this research’s definition of an e-scooter that could be personally owned or rented through a shared micromobility program. Studies published before January 1, 2017, or after October 31, 2020, were also excluded. The term “micromobility” often includes bikeshare systems in addition to e-scooter systems. Because the electric bikeshare (e-bike) body of literature is large and beyond the scope of this research, the research team excluded bikeshare-specific items. However, some recent e-bike literature was included if it specifically compared e-scooter and e-bike injuries or if it pertained to micromobility man- agement practices that may extend to e-scooters. Gray literature in the form of reports published by governments or others with experience with micromobility was included. Gray literature was identified by searching the individual websites of relevant organizations and municipalities for publications. Organiza- tions targeted in the search included • National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), • Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), • Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP), • Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA), • Law Enforcement Bicycle Association (LEBA), • American Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association (ADTSEA), • National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), • Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (AMPO), • American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), and • AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Additionally, the project team scanned information on e-scooter injuries and safety management practices provided by city or county governmental organizations. As there are more than 190 e-scooter markets in the United States, the team focused on gathering reports from large U.S. cities representing diverse geographic contexts. In total, the research team identified 349 studies and reports that met the inclusion criteria. Most of these were scholarly articles pub- lished in peer reviewed journals, but some were agency, municipal- ity, or academic research reports (i.e., gray literature). The research team reviewed the studies in detail and created a spreadsheet of literature on e-scooter injuries that includes study title, date, authors, publication, setting or location, population, demographics, meth- odology, data source, inclusion criteria, and key findings. The team categorized each item into the relevant task areas: injury literature (58 studies), policy or practice literature (94 studies), and behavioral and usage trend literature (56 studies). Some items pertained to multiple task areas and were therefore cross-tagged. An additional 46 studies were tagged as pertaining to e-bikes and 14 studies related to COVID-19. After review, 81 items were excluded as not relevant or out of scope for the study. CHAPTER 3 E-SCOOTER CONTEXT AND SAFETY ISSUES An understanding of e-scooter user behavior and associated safety issues requires an understanding of the context of e-scooter use, including the evolution of the devices and safety features, rider sociodemographic characteristics, trip patterns and characteristics, and perceptions of safety related to e-scooter use (both for e-scooter users and nonusers). This area of e-scooter research continues to accrete as city agencies evaluate their e-scooter pilot programs and external parties seek to address gaps in research regarding how e-scooters affect the transportation system. Although variation in survey methodologies limited direct comparisons between studies, overall trends within the body of literature are clear. This section presents findings from research related to e-scooters from at least 20 cities across the United States. These cities allowed e-scooters and often conducted formal evaluations through pilots. Many pilots lasted for several months and were then evaluated. In a few cases, local universities conducted studies that were unrelated to formal evaluations but still provide important insights into e-scooter user behavior and context. Also included are relevant results from the 18-metro Populus survey, which are presented in TCRP Research Report 230: Transit and Micromobility (Murphy et al. 2021). The findings described in this section are derived mostly from online surveys about e-scooter use and analysis of ridership data from e-scooter companies. Most surveys received at least 1,000 responses. These response numbers provide a baseline level of confidence in the results, though results are still subject to response bias. The bias may be particularly notable for surveys based on convenience sam- ples, which may systematically miss certain segments of the popu- lation, such as racial minorities, women, low-income communities, people with limited access to broadband, and other marginalized groups. Ridership surveys may also be biased toward certain demo- graphics if ridership itself is skewed. Given the consistency of survey

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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