Changes in Travel Behavior, Attitudes, and Preferences among E-Scooter Riders and Non-Riders: A First Look at Results from Pre and Post E-Scooter System Launch Surveys at Virginia Tech
Mollenhauer, Michael A.
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Shared micromobility such as electric scooters (e-scooters) has potential to enhance the sustainability of urban transport by displacing car trips, providing more mobility options, and improving access to public transit. Most published studies on e-scooter ridership focus on cities and only capture data at one point in time. This study reports results from two cross-sectional surveys deployed before (n=462) and after (n=428) the launch of a fleet of shared e-scooters on Virginia Tech’s campus in Blacksburg, VA. This allowed for a pre-post comparison of attitudes and preferences of e-scooter riders and non-users. E-scooter ridership on campus follows patterns identified in other studies, with a greater share of younger riders—in particular undergraduate students. Stated intention to ride prior to system launch was greater than actual ridership after system launch. The drop-off between pre-launch intention to ride and actual riding was strongest for older age groups, women, and university staff. As in city surveys, the main reasons for riding e-scooters on campus were travel speed and fun of riding. About 30% indicated using e-scooters to ride to parking lots or to access public transport service—indicating e-scooters’ potential as connector to other modes of transport. Compared to responses prior to system launch, perceptions about the convenience, cost, safety, parking, rider behavior, and usefulness of the e-scooter systems were more positive among non-riders after system launch—indicating that pilot projects may improve public perception of e-scooters. Building more bike lanes or separate spaces for e-scooters to ride could help move e-scooter riders off sidewalks—a desire expressed by both pedestrians and e-scooter users.