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A New Framework for Evaluating Equitable Accessibility of Dockless Vehicles

Authors: Alexandra Pan*, , Karl Reinhardt*, UC Berkeley
Topics: Spatial Analysis & Modeling, Transportation Geography, United States
Keywords: accessibility, spatial equity, micromobility, e-scooters
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Micromobility, the use of light vehicles like bicycles and scooters, has increased greatly in urban areas over recent years but barriers to micromobility in disadvantaged communities still remain. Like other forms of shared mobility, scooters often require credit cards and driver’s licenses to sign up, and may be a financial burden for low-income people. Furthermore, uneven distribution of scooters results in spatial inequity. Some scooter permitting practices have attempted to address spatial inequity and increase the accessibility of scooters by mandating companies place a certain percent of their fleet in areas designated as disadvantaged communities. However, accessibility for dockless modes differs from that of public transit, which has fixed station locations, or that of cars and other non-motorized modes, which are personally owned and available to the user at any time. With increasing shared, dockless mobility options, there is a need for a new way of defining accessibility. Our research develops a framework for measuring accessibility and equity of dockless vehicles. First, we examine some alternatives to the existing “Communities of Concern” used in the San Francisco Bay Area. Next, we apply buffering and aggregation methods to available real-time API data from four scooter companies in Oakland, California to evaluate what percentage of residents in disadvantaged communities have access to a scooter at different times of day. This research methodology can be applied by any cities that wish to enhance scooter equity programs to improve access for disadvantaged communities.

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