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E-Scooter Safety Toolbox (2023)

Chapter: Chapter 3 - Promising Practices

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - Promising Practices." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. E-Scooter Safety Toolbox. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27253.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - Promising Practices." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. E-Scooter Safety Toolbox. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27253.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - Promising Practices." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. E-Scooter Safety Toolbox. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27253.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - Promising Practices." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. E-Scooter Safety Toolbox. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27253.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - Promising Practices." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. E-Scooter Safety Toolbox. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27253.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - Promising Practices." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. E-Scooter Safety Toolbox. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27253.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - Promising Practices." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. E-Scooter Safety Toolbox. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27253.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - Promising Practices." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. E-Scooter Safety Toolbox. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27253.
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7   Promising Practices Taking a Holistic Approach Importantly, safety is more than the absence of crashes. Safety is a sense of well-being, belonging, comfort, and protection from any form of risk, harm, injury, or violence. Many transportation agencies are well-versed in the effects of and working to reduce vehicular violence, but inter- personal violence and police-related violence stemming from traffic stops that occur on roadways and in or near transit, rideshare, or micromobility systems also affects road user safety. A holistic approach to e-scooter safety management must consider a range of factors that affect safety, health, and injury outcomes and recognize that individual behaviors form and emerge from within broader social, environmental, and cultural contexts. Both NHTSA and FHWA have recognized the need for Safe System approaches to offer holistic safety efforts to create layers of protection to prevent a crash (see Figure 3). Figure 4 illustrates identified risk factors for injury and protective factors, which span indi- vidual, social, and environmental domains, a common public health model for considering risk. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) (2019), “Risk factors are characteristics at the biological, psychological, family, community, or cultural level that precede and are associated with a higher likelihood of negative outcomes,” while “Protective factors are characteristics associated with a lower likelihood of negative outcomes or that reduce a risk factor’s impact. Protective factors may be seen as positive countering events.” A shared risk and protective factor approach refers to prioritizing risk and protective factors linked to multiple forms of injury in prevention planning, partnership, and programmatic efforts, as opposed to focusing on different injury outcomes separately (e.g., e-scooter vs. pedestrian vs. bicyclist vs. driver). This public health framework may be helpful in considering the range of issues and options available to develop a more comprehensive approach to e-scooter safety management. As noted in the shared risk and protective factors model in Figure 4, enhancing civic participation in the transportation decision-making process; building cultural competency, connections, and trust between community members and those responsible for e-scooter safety management; and fostering the collection of data and insights needed to advance equitable safety approaches and policies are important parts of a holistic approach. C H A P T E R 3 See the following section, Engaging the Community to Identify Safety Issues, for information on community-based approaches to support decision-making processes and guidance on data collection opportunities to help identify shared risk and protective factors.

8 E-Scooter Safety Toolbox Engaging the Community to Identify Safety Issues There are many existing tools for transportation agencies and other decision-makers to use to engage communities to identify and share safety concerns. For example, many communities have developed or adapted checklists for assessing walkability, bikeability, school, and transit access and developed methods to “audit” their communities. These community assessment tools provide discussion prompts that can help highlight shortcomings in the roadway environment; identify root causes for behavioral and social concerns; unearth risks not easily captured in existing crash and roadway data sources; and provide critical data needed to support safety program development and project prioritization. Often these assessments are paired with photo- voice and/or Video Voice, which offer community-led opportunities to share perspectives and document concerns through imagery and storytelling techniques. Table 2 offers a checklist tool to be used by community members and agency staff alike to flag potential concerns specific to e-scooter riders or potential riders. This checklist can be used in community walkabouts or more formal road safety assessments conducted with stakeholders. State highway safety officials, and local and regional agencies can use this discussion prompt list to facilitate conversations with communities about the nature of e-scooter-related safety concerns to refine policies, practices, and investments, including the approaches described in the following section. Many localities partner with local universities and stakeholder groups and draw funding from SHSOs to help them evaluate their e-scooter programs and offer ways for community members to provide input or share complaints. Items from this checklist can provide a foundation for developing safety perception surveys that can be distributed via paper, web, or used in focus groups, with advisory groups, or in planning workshops. For example, if an agency has a routine travel survey as part of its transportation or safety planning process, these questions might be integrated into the survey to help better understand traveler perceptions of risks and experiences with riding e-scooters in the community. Similarly, if a community aims to introduce new safety practices or policies, these questions could be asked before, during, and after implementation to assess how perceptions of safety may change as a result of the intervention or pilot. Figure 3. The “Swiss Cheese Model” of crash prevention. Source: Laing and Klitzsch (2021). For an additional library of e-scooter survey instruments collected from agencies, see the New Urban Mobility Alliance E-Scooter Survey Question Toolkit (Wen and Cherry 2022).

Promising Practices 9   Figure 4. Shared risk and protective factors for e-scooter injuries. Source: UNC-HSRC.

10 E-Scooter Safety Toolbox Question Response 1. Is there a comfortable physical space to ride for people of all ages and abilities? Yes, there are protected spaces (i.e., separated from vehicle traffic and pedestrians) for bicyclists that can also be used by e-scooter riders. No, the space has the following problems (check all that apply): People must ride on sidewalks because there are no other protected spaces to ride. The space is not wide enough to be shared by e-scooters and people walking, bicycling, or using wheelchairs. The space to ride abruptly ends. The space is often blocked by parked cars, delivery vans, signs, trash cans, etc. The space is often encroached by drivers entering/exiting driveways or parking spaces. Pedestrians often encroach into the space. Nearby traffic is moving too fast. Lighting of the space is poor. The space is not well-maintained (e.g., litter and trash are present). Other (please describe): ____________________________ 2. Does the available space to ride connect people to where they need or want to go? Yes, there is a supportive network of spaces for e-scooters riders to use. No, the space has the following problems (check all that apply): People can’t cross a bridge because the protected space ends. People can’t get through an intersection because there is no protected space. There are not enough opportunities to cross the street. The space to ride does not extend to the locations where buses or trains depart. There aren’t enough curb cuts in places where e-scooters need to access the sidewalk or parking locations. Other (please describe): ____________________________ 3. Is the space to ride free of other safety risks? Yes, the space is well-maintained and free of hazards and obstacles to e-scooter use. No, the space has the following problems (check all that apply): Potholes, debris, and/or pavement surface issues create fall hazards. Storm drain grates and utility covers can cause riders to crash or fall. Railroad or light rail tracks are causing falls. Hills and topography make it hard to maintain control of the device. Driveway lips or missing curb cuts present obstacles. Other (please describe): ____________________________ 4. Are the available devices in good working order? Yes, the devices are well-maintained and functional. No, some of the devices have the following problems: They do not appear to be working or would not start. They lack good brakes. They lack mirrors to see traffic coming from behind. They lack working turning signals. They lack working lights (front and/or rear). The throttle is sticky or unpredictable. The device unexpectedly fails or shuts off. Other (please describe): ____________________________ 5. Apart from the physical space, is there a secure and comfortable social space for people of all ages, genders, and abilities? Yes, the social space provides a sense of belonging and security and invites movement for all, both day and night. No, the space has the following problems (check all that apply): The space is known for overly aggressive policing practices that disproportionately target people of color. The space has a history of crime and/or violence that makes people feel afraid to travel here. Women, LGBTQ+, and/or other groups have experienced harassment or violence in this space. This space shows signs of disinvestment and neglect (e.g., litter, poor repair, broken infrastructure, abandoned buildings, roaming animals, etc.) that make it uncomfortable to ride an e-scooter. Drivers using this space are hostile or intimidating to other road users. Other (please describe): ____________________________ Table 2. List of discussion prompts to examine if an area is supportive of safe and inclusive e-scooter travel.

Promising Practices 11   Adopting Evidence-Based Measures Local agencies and college campuses are often the organizations that work with e-scooter providers to establish, maintain, oversee, and evaluate e-scooter rideshare programs as well as safety interventions and practices. SHSOs are increasingly tasked with the role of supporting local efforts to implement and participate in injury prevention programs and efforts to improve safety data quality and data monitoring efforts. For example, SHSOs receive and distribute NHTSA Title 23 402 formula grant funds, 405c program funds for traffic safety information systems, 405d funds for impaired driving prevention efforts, and 405h funds for nonmotorized safety programs. These efforts often involve building coalitions, supporting peer learning networks, and distributing data and resources to support local safety efforts. In addition to NHTSA funding, FHWA (2022d) provides a range of funding programs where micromobility projects and initiatives may be eligible. Table 3 offers a description of safety management practices that relate to various “layers” in the swiss cheese model (shown in Figure 3) of a Safe System approach. These practices, and their current level of adoption and strength of evidence, were identified in the BTS-10 study and are further discussed in Chapters 4, 5, and 6 of BTSCRP Web-Only Document 5. The evidence base for injury prevention effectiveness is not the only consideration for imple- menting these activities; some practices also carry the potential for creating other harms, such as inequitable access or enforcement. Each practice must be carefully viewed through the lens of equity and inclusion when planning for implementation and evaluation. Many traditional safety practices have overlooked the socio-political impacts of race and racism in the United States and have failed to holistically document effects beyond injury or crash reduction. Acknowledging the history of a space of a community and its people and performing community-centered analyses of needs are fundamental to program planning, implementation, and evaluation. Collaboration and opportunities for ongoing partnership with community members and groups, as well as co-learning with community affinity groups and shared decision-making help build capacity and understanding of local needs and resources. Identification of barriers to community participation also informs collaborative processes. In the context of shared e-scooter programming, these approaches help to deliver a mobility program defined and supported by community input and values. Question Response 6. Are safety resources made available to people wanting to use an e-scooter? Yes, many safety resources are routinely provided to community members and visitors. No, there are some missing safety resources (check all that apply): Helmets are not available for use at the site of the e-scooter rental or parking location. The app does not provide safety tips or rules of the road. The program doesn’t offer training or opportunities for practice for first-time riders. There are no signs or markings on the road to indicate the safest routes for travel. It’s not clear where to go to report a problem or get help. There aren’t enough e-scooters available for groups to ride together and feel “safety in numbers” effects. It’s not clear where e-scooters can be safely and securely parked. There are limited options for or information about safe and affordable travel for people too intoxicated or impaired to drive or use e-scooters/bikes. Other (please describe): ____________________________ Table 2. (Continued).

12 E-Scooter Safety Toolbox Domain Description of Safety Management Practice (Agency lead: S = SHSO; D = State DOT; L = Local agency) Current Level of Adoption Current Strength of Injury Prevention Evidence Safe Roads Partnership and coordination across work units for infrastructure planning and delivery (S, D, L) – see section 4.1.1 of BTSCRP Web-Only Document 5 Medium Promising/Likely effective Funding for infrastructure planning and delivery (L, D) – see section 4.1.2 of BTSCRP Web-Only Document 5 Low Promising/Likely effective Implementing parking infrastructure (L, D) – see section 4.2.1 of BTSCRP Web-Only Document 5 Medium/ High Promising/Likely effective Implementing parking requirements or restrictions (L) – see section 4.4.1 of BTSCRP Web-Only Document 5 High Promising/Likely effective Pavement marking signage and maintenance and hazard detection (L, D) – see section 4.3 of BTSCRP Web-Only Document 5 Low Promising/Likely effective Safe Vehicles Safety and other data standards (L, S, D) – see section 4.9.1 of BTSCRP Web-Only Document 5 and Chapter 4 of BTSCRP Research Report 9 Medium Promising/Likely effective Incident and injury reporting requirements (L, S, D) – see section 4.9.2 of BTSCRP Web-Only Document 5 Medium Promising/Likely effective Fleet safety management (L) – see section 4.11.2 of BTSCRP Web-Only Document 5 Low Promising/Likely effective Parking and other code compliance (L) – see section 4.11.3 of BTSCRP Web-Only Document 5 Medium Limited or no high-quality evidence Safe Speeds E-scooter speed limit regulations (L) – see section 4.5.3 of BTSCRP Web-Only Document 5 Medium/ High No demonstrated effectiveness Vehicle speed limit regulations (D, L) – see section 4.5.3 of BTSCRP Web-Only Document 5 Low High demonstrated effectiveness Safe People Sidewalk riding restrictions and defining where riders should be (L, D) – see sections 4.4.2, 4.6.2, and 4.6.3 of BTSCRP Web-Only Document 5 Medium No demonstrated effectiveness Service area restrictions (e.g., geofencing) (L) – see section 4.5.1 of BTSCRP Web-Only Document 5 High Limited or no high-quality evidence Service time restrictions (L) – see section 4.5.2 of BTSCRP Web-Only Document 5 Medium Limited or no high-quality evidence User validation (L) – see section 4.11.1 of BTSCRP Web-Only Document 5 Medium Promising/Likely effective Requirements for user feedback/helpline to receive public and rider input (L) - see section 4.9.2 of BTSCRP Web-Only Document 5 Medium Promising/Likely effective Specific work to provide equitable access to e-scooter programs (L, S, D) – see section 4.5.5 of BTSCRP Web-Only Document 5 Medium Promising/Likely effective Public engagement and outreach practices (L, S, D) – see section 4.7 and 4.8 of BTSCRP Web-Only Document 5 High Limited or no high-quality evidence Rider training and safety ambassadors (L, S) – see section 4.7.1 of BTSCRP Web-Only Document 5 Medium Limited or no high-quality evidence Public awareness campaigns (L, S) – see section 4.8.1 of BTSCRP Web-Only Document 5 High Limited or no high-quality evidence Communications related to Safe Routes to School (L, S) – see section 4.8.2 of BTSCRP Web-Only Document 5 Low Limited or no high-quality evidence Special communications (L, S) – see section 4.8.3 of BTSCRP Web-Only Document 5 Low Limited or no high-quality evidence Postcrash Harm Reduction Encouraging helmet use to mitigate injuries (S, L) – see section 4.4.3 of BTSCRP Web-Only Document 5 Medium/ High Limited or no high-quality evidence Safety Evaluation Incident reporting requirements from operators and others (S, D, L) – see section 4.9.2 of BTSCRP Web-Only Document 5 Medium Promising/Likely effective Injury data coding and quality control for police and health records (S, D, L) – see section 4.9.3 of BTSCRP Web-Only Document 5 Low Promising/Likely effective Safety program evaluation (L) – see section 4.10 of BTSCRP Web-Only Document 5 Low Promising/Likely effective Table 3. Safety management practices, adoption, and injury prevention evidence base.

Promising Practices 13   Delivering Basic Safety Information Coupling system-oriented safety programs with routine communication to the public about e-scooter safety is important. An e-scooter factsheet (Figure 5) may be useful in communicating basic information about e-scooter safety to partners, the media, and the public. This information could be shared directly on e-scooters (via printed hangtags), delivered through new rider/ driver safety quizzes in safety training courses, distributed at community events, and posted on social media. See the case studies in Chapter 5 for approaches in real-world applications. See Chapters 4, 5, and 6 in BTSCRP Web-Only Document 5 for additional background on approaches to equity in e-scooter programs, e-scooter safety management approaches, survey participant reported practices from across the United States, and insights from agency interviews. Given that many of the identified practices have limited or no high-quality evidence supporting their effectiveness, the BTSCRP Web-Only Document 5 Chapter 9 describes research gaps and future needs. See the case studies in Chapter 5 for more examples of communications efforts embedded in micromobility program and safety efforts.

BEFORE THE RIDE: What to Know About Safe E-Scooting WHAT IS AN E-SCOOTER? E-scooters are two- or three-wheeled devices powered by an electric motor, consisting of a platform between the front and rear wheels that the rider stands on (or has a seat to sit on) and a steering column with handlebars that allow the rider to steer, accelerate, and brake. E-scooters may be rented through operators or may be purchased and privately owned. The minimum riding age varies by location and a driver’s license may be required to access rental scooters. Double riding (more than one person on a device) is often prohibited or discouraged, except on certain devices designed for two or more riders. Head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, are the most common type of injury requiring medical treatment (28-40%). Fractures, particularly involving the lower arm and wrist, are also common (25-31%).1 Several studies have shown that nonfatal injury e-scooter crashes often involve a fall or loss of control of the vehicle (33-80%). While only 10-15% of nonfatal e-scooter injuries involve motor vehicles, over three-fourths of fatal injuries do. Many fatal injuries involve nighttime riding (50%) and alcohol use.1 1 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. E-Scooter Safety: Issues and Solutions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/1o.17226/26756. E-scooter classification and regulations may vary, so check local laws to see where e-scooters are permitted to travel and to park. In some places, e-scooters are not allowed on sidewalks, paths, or certain monument or park spaces. In all places, parked e-scooters are not allowed to block access to buildings, curb ramps, or sidewalks. WHAT RULES AND REGULATIONS APPLY? WHAT TYPES OF INCIDENTS AND INJURIES ARE MOST COMMON WITH E-SCOOTERS? HOW CAN RIDERS AVOID INJURIES TO THEMSELVES AND OTHERS? Follow the SAFETY approach that supports a Safe System: START SLOW: Practice in a safe place if you are new to riding and begin slowly before trying out faster speeds or traveling down steep hills. Make sure you understand how to operate the throttle, steer, turn, brake, and dismount before traveling in a public space. Many operators offer in-app safety tutorials. If you are new to an area, check to see if there is a guide for e-scooter friendly routes. ASSESS THE DEVICE: Check that the e-scooter is in good working condition. Report defective devices to vendors or seek maintenance support for owned devices. FIND YOUR GEAR: Helmets play an important role in prevention of traumatic brain injuries, which are rare but can occur with e-scooter use. Many e-scooter vendors and local agencies offer free or discounted helmets. EXAMINE YOUR PATH: Be on the lookout for common roadway and roadside objects. Curbs, light poles, manhole covers, storm grates, and light rail or railroad tracks are common fall hazards. TRAVEL SOBER: Most riders know that drinking and e-scooters aren’t a safe mix. Impairment can significantly increase the risk of injury. The safest choice is to not drink alcohol or consume other impairing substances before riding. YIELD SPACE TO PEDESTRIANS: Slow your speed when traveling near pedestrians. Park e-scooters in designated areas such as bike racks or in zones outside of where people are walking. Don’t park against buildings, in curb ramps, in the middle of sidewalks, or in bicycle or travel lanes; blocking access to these spaces impedes the civil rights of other road users and may cause injury. Improperly parked devices may be subject to fines or confiscation. Post crash care: Wear a helmet to prevent head injuries and report incidents to authorities Safe roads: Scan for hazards, including vehicles and poor roadway surfaces or objects Safe vehicles: Check throttle and brakes before riding Safe System for E-scooter Riders Safe people: Practice defensive riding skills and responsible parking Safe speeds: Begin slowly; reduce speed around pedestrians ADAPTATION OF SAFE SYSTEM APPROACHES FOR E-SCOOTERS RIDERS TO PRACTICE SAFE BEHAVIORS Figure 5. E-scooter fact sheet.

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Since their introduction in the United States in 2017, the use of electric scooters (e-scooters) has expanded to the streets and sidewalks of many cities, and all indicators point to continued growth.

BTSCRP Research Report 9: E-Scooter Safety Toolbox, from TRB's Behavioral Traffic Safety Cooperative Research Program, presents findings from a multiyear research effort that sought to build on existing research to date, identify key gaps in knowledge and data related to e-scooter behavioral safety, and develop evidence-based guidelines that can enhance the coordination of behavioral safety programs and countermeasures with a broader toolbox of approaches to improve safety for all road users.

Supplemental to the report are BTSCRP Web-Only Document 5: E-Scooter Safety: Issues and Solutions and a presentation.

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