As Tucson awaits the upcoming drop of hundreds of shared electric-scooters (or e-scooters) on our streets, one CAPLA student investigates how local agencies regulate these third-party companies to encourage safe, equitable, and responsible operation.
Julian Griffee, second-year masters of urban planning student has been selected by the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) to travel to the Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) in Washington D.C. to be recognized as a 2020 TRB Minority Student Fellow. As part of this award, he was invited to write a research paper, and he chose to do original research inspired by his work as an intern with the City of Tucson’s Bike and Pedestrian program.
The paper “Scooting into a New Era: A Review of Agency Regulations on Shared E-Scooter Programs” documents a thorough review and content analysis of 39 U.S. agencies comparing and contrasting elements of the policies along various themes, including: fees and charges; ridership and data requirements; vehicle specifications and safety concerns; rebalancing and removal; parking and spatial restrictions; and equity. Griffee says, "practitioners should be aware of e-scooters and their impact on their jurisdictions’ infrastructure and residents, and the policies that have been enacted elsewhere to help regulate them."
The paper is co-authored by: Mr. Griffee’s faculty mentor, Dr. Kristina Currans, Assistant Professor of Planning; MS PLG Amp student, Quinton Fitzpatrick; and Torrey Lyons, a postdoctoral fellow at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Technological advances and trends have recently shifted towards micro-mobility and shared methods, resulting in a rapidly changing transportation landscape. While there has been a sharp increase in one of these technologies, shared electric scooters (or e-scooters), cities have had to work quickly to develop, adopt, and revise new regulatory policies to address and manage these new entities. The result has been city-led efforts grappling with policies managing everything from placement, parking, geofencing, vehicle specification requirements, fee structures, data management and sharing, safety features, to liability—all of which have implications on equitable access, economic development, public health, safety, and welfare. This study aims to illuminate the concerns and considerations of agencies across the US through their regulatory policies managing public access to shared e-scooter programs. The objectives of this study are two-fold. First, we aim to explore the limited (but growing) literature concerning studies and evaluations of shared e-scooter programs along themes of safety, use and users, and operations and management. Second, we provide a detailed analysis of regulations adopted from 39 agencies within the US. This analysis documents themes and considerations across all types of policies—from permitting requirements to public ordinances. In this paper, we aim to expand and update the number of cities reviewed by Anderson-Hall et al. (2019).