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Skateboarder and scooter rider perceptions of the urban environment: A qualitative analysis of user generated content

Authors: Lorne Platt*,
Topics: Transportation Geography, Urban Geography, Environmental Perception
Keywords: Active Transportation, Urban Infrastructure, Skateboards, Scooters, Instagram
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/9/2020
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Virtual Track 2
Presentation File: Download



Personal Mobility Devices (PMDs) such as skateboards and scooters are increasingly considered a form of active transportation in dense urban environments. Due to their growing use, understanding the experience of users is paramount, especially for cities intent on implementing efficient policies and planning that promote sustainable futures. To meet this need, the research examined the dynamic relationships between the built environment and PMD users in a major U.S. metropolitan area, Los Angeles, California. The data used in this study was derived from Instagram posts, written summaries, and photographic evidence and we implemented a participatory digital-photo/diary methodology to investigate how travelers responded to urban features (i.e., streets, sidewalks, land-use, and curbs), and how this relates to potential barriers for this mode. Our findings suggest that many riders encountered rough surfaces and difficult transitions between various paths and routes. Additionally, several built environment types, including smooth pavement and well maintained surfaces, were noted for the relative ease with which they could be ridden. The overall findings tell us that cities and planning agencies need to acknowledge this evidence and apply this towards long-term efforts set on facilitating these active mobilities in an urban setting.

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