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The National Academies

BTSCRP BTS-10 [Anticipated]

E-Scooter Safety: Issues and Solutions

  Project Data
Funds: $500,000
Staff Responsibility: William C. Rogers
Fiscal Year: 2020

This project has been tentatively selected and a project statement (request for proposals) is expected to be available on this website. The problem statement below will be the starting point for a panel of experts to develop the project statement.

   Since they were introduced in the United States in 2017, electric scooters (e-scooters) are now operating on the streets and sidewalks of more than 65 cities, and all indicators point to continued growth.  E-scooters offer many potential benefits including, reduced air pollution from transportation, first and last mile connections to public transit, increased mobility options, and new revenue sources for cities.  However, recently, there has been a growing concern with injuries associated with e-scooter use (Austin Public Health, 2019; JAMA Network Open, 2019) as reported by hospital emergency rooms.  Most of the e-scooter injuries were head injuries from falls and did not involve a motor vehicle; hence, it is difficult to track e-scooter crashes through traffic crash reports.  But the emergency room data clearly show a lack of helmet use, novice rider overrepresentation, and a significant subset of injuries to patients younger than 18 years.  As e-scooters proliferate, there is the potential to add risk to other vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and wheel chair users, especially if they are permitted to operate on sidewalks.

   The objective of this research is to identify the behavioral issues arising from e-scooter riding and develop practical policy, infrastructure maintenance, and educational and outreach recommendations.  The research should address such factors as: (1) how to accurately track or estimate injuries; (2) rates of compliance with helmet use, proper riding locations, parking, and traffic laws; (3) what influences compliance with policies and regulations (e.g., rider age, type or length of trip, time of day, alcohol use); (4) policies, enforcement practices, and education or training that could increase compliance rates; (5) the risks of various speeds, both motor vehicle and e-scooter, on e-scooter safety; and (6) targeted safe behavior messages and outreach programs.  

     

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