An Evaluation of Road User Interactions with E-Scooters

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SAFE-D: Safety Through Disruption National University Transportation Center

Electric scooters (e-scooters) are gaining in popularity due to their availability, accessibility, and low cost. However, there has been little research on how e-scooters behave on the road and interact with other road users. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, teaming with State Farm, conducted an observational study on the Virginia Tech campus. Video data were gathered through instrumented fixed cameras located at various intersections and high-volume pedestrian areas. The analysis focused on times with a high volume of e-scooter riders, which was the period from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. A total of 492 e-scooter trips were recorded, and 473 of those were analyzed. The analysis showed that e-scooters pose the most threat to pedestrians due to their higher speed and the greater vulnerability of pedestrians. The results also showed that the e-scooter riders adjusted their operation rules based on the traffic environment. These results suggest that it might be safer for e-scooters to be operated on designated lanes, bike lanes, or roadways with a speed limit of 25 mph or less. Additional countermeasures to separate e-scooter traffic from vehicles may be required on roadways with faster speed limits. Further research is needed to confirm these recommendations.

E-scooter, road user interaction, safety, observational study, transportation as a service