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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Wheels for All:Ensuring Equitable Access toDockless Mobility in Los Angeles

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As the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) embarks on a one-year dockless mobility pilot program, both LADOTstaff and the residents they serve have raised concerns over equity and access. Dockless mobility refers to dockless orfree-floating bicycles, electric bicycles, and electric scooters available for short-term rental that have begun to proliferate in citiesacross the country. LADOT staff have permitted eight companies with an accumulated 36,000 vehicles. Because the distributionof scooters across Los Angeles neighborhoods is far from even, LADOT staff are currently using CalEnviroScreen 3.0 to identifydisadvantaged communities where regulations incentivize operators to deploy their scooters. However, CalEnviroScreen 3.0 is ametric developed to identify communities likely affected by environmental injustices and as such prioritizes environmentalexposure factors over those that may affect transportation access.The purpose of this project is to first address the CalEnviroScreen limitations in analyzing dockless mobility equity by developingan access-focused Dockless Equity Map that locates the most socioeconomically and access disadvantaged communities in LosAngeles. LADOT staff could then produce regulations that promote enhanced dockless outreach and service in these areas. Iconstructed this map using data on socioeconomic characteristics (e.g. poverty level, race, etc.) and spatial access indicators (e.g.job accessibility by transit, car ownership, etc.). The Dockless Equity Map includes areas in the San Fernando Valley, East LosAngeles, South Los Angeles, and the Harbor that may be the most appropriate targets for dockless mobility equity policies.While developing an appropriate Equity Map is a crucial step, simply dropping scooters in underserved areas will not translate toequitable access. The final section of this report identifies actions that LADOT staff can take during the one-year pilot and beyondto ensure equitable access in the Dockless Equity Map areas. Through interviews with community-based organizationrepresentatives, I developed the following recommendations: 1) engage with residents in the Dockless Equity Map target areas inorder to educate them on dockless mobility, 2) utilize data collected during the one-year pilot to set specific equity goals, and 3)address infrastructure and safety concerns.

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