An Assessment of Micromobility Travel in California in terms of Trip Characteristics, Connections to Transit, and COVID-19 Effects

Research Team: Dillon Fitch (lead) and Alan Jenn

University: UC Davis

Problem Statement: While micromobility services (e.g. bikeshare, e-bike share, e-scooter share) hold great potential for providing more environmentally sustainable and affordable travel options, estimating the effects of these services on vehicle miles traveled and reducing greenhouse gases is challenging. Government agencies are just beginning to discuss ways of incentivizing micromobility services. California has taken one step in this direction through the Clean Miles Standard and Incentive Program as established by SB 1014 (2018) which allows the CARB and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to consider micromobility service use as a part of “qualified zero-emission vehicles” in its regulations of transportation network companies. To do this, estimating the potential impact micromobility services can have on reducing greenhouse gas emissions is paramount.

Project Description: This research will leverage existing data and collect new data to inform the Clean Miles Standard and Incentive Program. It will use existing disaggregate information about micromobility vehicle availability (General Bikeshare Feed Specification: GBFS) to infer trip characteristics (e.g. frequency, distance) for all (or nearly all) trips. Researchers will also review existing survey data and literature on micromobility mode substitution as well as system-level reductions in vehicle miles traveled and life cycle emissions, to suggest ways to use this data to shape the Clean Miles Standard and Incentive Program that account for methodological assumptions and data uncertainty. The researchers will also collect additional GBFS data for the same operators and cities to improve estimates of trip characteristics and to understand the impact of shelter-in-home and other public policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic on micromobility use. Lastly, the research will analyze the effect of micromobility services on transit use through city-and stop-scale analysis of micromobility trips and transit ridership.

Status: In Progress

Budget: $80,000

Project Partner(s): California Air Resources Board