CEE Associate Department Head and Professor Chris Cherry is the research lead from UT on a multi-institutional consortium focused on examining the emerging safety issues related to electric scooters (or e-scooters).
The Behavioral Traffic Safety Cooperative Research Program (BTSCRP) launched a 30-month, $490K study that is expected to begin in June, one of the first large-scale studies that will look closely at how behavior affects safety.
The project seeks to advance multimodal road safety by identifying safety risks emerging from the growing use of e-scooters added to the road user mix, while also developing comprehensive guidance, tools, policy options, and educational materials to mitigate those risks.
“Forms of micromobility such as e-scooters are at the forefront of changes in the transportation landscape,” said Cherry. “However, there are still gaps in research to guide policies for e-scooter management. It’s important to address these gaps while e-scooters are still in the early adoption phase.”
Leading the project is the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Highway Safety Research Center (HSRC). Other collaborators include multidisciplinary transportation experts from UNC’s Department of City and Regional Planning (DCRP), Safe Streets Research & Consulting (SSRC), Populus, and Equitable Cities.
Along with generating concrete guidance for e-scooter management, the project is expected to generate a report that will 1) describe the state of use/exposure and safety trends among e-scooter users and markets; 2) identify contributing factors (both behavioral and environmental) to safety risks; and 3) summarize how cities are working to support, manage, and/or regulate the use of e-scooters to prevent and mitigate injuries and provide a series of case studies highlighting real-world practices.
The research and guidance will provide evidence-based strategies and supporting tools for e-scooter safety actions that can be integrated into state and local highway safety plans, policies, programs, and projects.
This effort builds upon the team’s prior research on e-scooters, including a recent project developing a series of new ICD-10-CM codes to categorize injuries related to micromobility devices.
Read more about this project at the Transportation Research Board.