The reaction to micromobility in San Francisco: a media discourse analysis

Authors: Paris Marx*, McGill University, Kevin Manaugh, McGill University
Topics: Transportation Geography, Communication, Qualitative Research
Keywords: active transportation, micromobility, discourse analysis, media, cycling
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: President's Boardroom, Omni, East
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The rapid proliferation of dockless bike and scooter services has changed the transportation landscape of cities since their launch in the United States less than two years ago. These micromobility modes, as they are increasingly classified, have the potential to increase the share of active transportation in the cities where they are used and create pressure for better active-transportation infrastructure. However, the services have also generated a backlash as they have taken up space on sidewalks and streets that were previously reserved for pedestrians and automobiles. To gain a better understanding of the reaction to these services, we conducted a discourse analysis on news media reports about the rollout of micromobility services in San Francisco and the key events that followed, including the reaction of policymakers and conflicts with users of other modes. Articles were taken from a number of local publications to get a broad range of perspectives on the events and to examine how the operationalization of discourses varied between supporters and opponents of micromobility services.

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