Improving Shared Micromobility Vehicle Design and Safety

Research Team: Beth Ferguson (lead) and Angela Sanguinetti

UC Campus(es): UC Davis

Problem Statement: Shared micromobility (e-bikes and e-scooters) has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, traffic congestion, and air pollution, particularly when integrated with public transit and replacing private vehicle use. Shared micromobility has become extremely popular over the last four years across major city centers. Micromobility fleet operators have provided the public with a variety of shared e-scooters and e-bikes. The features of these vehicles vary, including size, speed, brake system, and lighting, which could have implications for user safety. This market would benefit from a comprehensive evaluation of the different e-scooter and e-bike features to further enhance safety guidelines. An evaluation system would help transportation regulators know what safety features to look for and require before permitting micromobility operators in their cities, in turn improving safety for local riders and pedestrians.

Project Description: This project will evaluate current e-scooter and e-bike designs managed by California micromobility operators and will focus on comparing multiple vehicle features in a controlled experiment to evaluate which features enhance safety as mobility operators continue to expand vehicle fleets. The research will be conducted in the Bay Area and will identify all the different types of vehicles currently in use to develop a complete survey and test experiment. The research team will create a controlled and standardized evaluation system for each vehicle to compare and understand which features increase safety, comfort, and quality of ride. They will look closely at e-scooter design specifications such as handlebar from the deck size, wheel size and style, deck size, deck ground clearance, light, bell, stomp break, throttle system, and brake. The researchers also plan to use a GPS performance timer to record the time to from zero to maximum speed reached and measure the distance the e-scooter takes to brake from its maximum speed.

Status: In Progress

Budget: $25,000