Dockless electric kick scooter (e-scooter) sharing programs have been introduced to cities around the world with the promise of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reducing vehicular congestion and solving the “last mile” problem. With large scale sharing programs only beginning in North America in 2018, these shared e-scooter services have widely grown. Their spread has sometimes outpaced the ability of municipalities to develop policy and regulations to effectively integrate e-scooters into the existing multi-modal transportation landscape. Until recently, e-scooters were not allowed to legally operate on Canadian streets, but the Governments of Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec, and several Albertan municipalities have introduced e-scooter pilot programs over the past two years. There is a need to better understand how e-scooters can be integrated into existing transportation systems safely, sustainably, and equitably. However, given the relative novelty of e-scooters, there is a dearth of research in terms of their sustainability and equity of implementation as well as their impacts on public health, safety, and travel behaviour.
The research involves a policy scan of e-scooter regulations in North American cities to look for patterns in regulations that address public health & safety, environmental sustainability, economic sustainability, social equity and transportation integration-related concerns. Subsequently, 20+ interviews with municipal planners were conducted to identify challenges behind e-scooter program implementation, how they have been overcome, and how findings from pilot projects have affected policy.
The project is supported by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Partnership Engage Grant.