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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Best Practices for the Public Management of Electric Scooters

  • Author(s): Reinhardt, Karl
  • Deakin, Elizabeth, SM., J.D.
  • et al.

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This research projects evaluates the social, environmental, and safety impacts of shared electric scooters (e-scooters)’ through a literature review, a nationwide scan of state and local laws and regulations, and a case study of Oakland’s experience with e-scooters, including an analysis of the city’s user survey and our own in-depth interviews. E-scooters offer an enjoyable, low-cost travel option, but are used mainly by young, affluent, white males. To improve equity, cities are requiring e-scooter rental companies to serve low-income and minority communities and some further mandate that a share of the e-scooters accommodate people with disabilities. E-scooters are quiet and produce no tailpipe emissions, but their cumulative environmental impact depends on their manufacture, useful life, disposal, and use. In early applications, rental e-scooters survived less than a year. Some 30-50 percent of e-scooter trips replace short auto trips. Cities and states can improve e-scooter safety by encouraging helmet use, offering rider training, limiting speeds, improving pavements, managing parking, and calming traffic.

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