E-Scooter Programs: Lessons Learned Two Years In

Scooter Corral at Union Station
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Scooter Corral at Union Station

Shared e-scooters rolled out on campus and across Fayetteville two years ago. Since inception, the City of Fayetteville and the U of A have been working closely with key stakeholders and the e-scooter vendors to provide a safe, efficient and fun transportation service to the community. Two companies, Spin and Veo, are the only permitted vendors at this time, and must comply with university, local and state regulations.  

DATA TALKS 

From a quantitative perspective, the value of the e-scooter program at the U of A is demonstrated by the high ridership numbers. 

High utilization speaks to the popularity of the service among a large number of regular riders. Among Spin and Veo's campus partners, the U of A consistently sees some of the highest utilization in terms of ridership. 

Key statistics include: 

  • During the fall 2021 semester, users average 2,000-2,500 trips per day, showing strong utilization by a core group of regular riders.
  • Average trip time is about 10 minutes, with an average cost of about $3 per trip, suggesting e-scooters are filling first- and last-mile needs, alongside general short-distance trips, at an affordable cost. 
  • Injuries reported to Spin, Veo and UAPD remain low and include three in September and three in October. 
  • Gameday ridership has ranges from 5,000-8,000 trips per day, indicating popularity by gameday visitors and others who chose to scooter to games in order to avoid traffic congestion and parking stress.
  • From Aug. 23 to Oct. 24, Spin issued 1,594 etiquette warnings. Out of those, 67 users have received an escalated "Strike 1" warning, which includes a $10 fine and requires users to take an in-app rules review quiz. 

STUDENTS SPEAK

From a qualitative point of view, a recent in-app survey, feedback gathered from U of A affiliates highlight the role and value of e-scooters as a campus transportation amenity that provides a convenient and affordable way to get to, from and around campus. 

Users were asked: "Tell us how scooters impact your day-to-day." Here is what students had to say:

  • "Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday I have 15 minutes to get from the Walton Business building to the stadium! It's a 15 minute walk if I speed walk, but with traffic and cross walks I'm always late. Thanks to [e-scooters] I make it to class 10 minutes early and get a seat front row." — Hannah
  • "I have epilepsy and am not able to drive to get to my destination. [E-scooters have] made it possible for me to get to class and home easier and safely!" — Gabe
  • "The scooters are the only form of transportation I have to get home when my classes end late in the evening. I feel safe commuting home at night. It really brings true joy to scooter home after a long day's work." — Lauren
  • "[E-scooters] are the fastest and most economical way for me to get to classes and campus events. They are easily accessible and easy to use, so they provide a reliability that cars just can't get when you live by an expansive campus. Micro mobility for the win!" — Sydney
  • "i'm not a student or anything; i just live near campus. But, as somebody who suffers from severe depression and anxiety, it's nice to be able to hop on a scooter and just hit the streets at night. It keeps my hands from doomscrolling the internet, and the breeze and freedom can help get my mind off things. Life's tough, but at least I can have some fun sometimes." — Ross
  • "[E-scooters] allow me to move around campus, between friends' apartments and mine and close entertainment without the burden of high fees like Uber; it is quick and efficient, as well as environmentally friendly. Thank you." — Nicolas 

ONGOING STRATEGY AND OPERATIONS REVIEW

The U of A Office for Sustainability, Campus Safety and UAPD, as well as Spin, Veo and the City of Fayetteville, meet regularly to review the scooter share program current operations and strategies in order to recommend enhancements that are enhancing safety and reducing clutter. The review includes, but is not limited to: 

  • Parking compliance strategies including geofencing and parking incentives; 
  • Proactive operational clutter-reduction strategies,
  • Gameday and special events planning and strategies, including operational staffing and coordination between vendors. 

RECOMMENDATIONS 

Scale-Up User Training & Helmet Giveaways
Expand user in-person, in-app and online safety and education programming to reinforce best riding practices and parking rules and distribute more helmets.

Clear the Clutter 
Implement a "Forced Parking Model" starting spring semester 2022 to reduce clutter and improper parking, while continuing to meet the needs of the students. 

Utilize Emerging Technologies
Update e-scooter firmware as soon as possible to allow for tip-over notification and other safety-related technologies that will improve user safety and decrease clutter.

Remember the General Rules for Riders

  • Rules for scooters are similar to those for bicycles. Scooters may operate in most places bicycles are allowed such as bike lanes, paved trails and in streets. 
  • Scooters may be ridden sidewalks except where the building face is adjacent to the sidewalk, and riders must yield to pedestrians on sidewalks.  
  • When on the roadway, scooter users must obey the same traffic laws as drivers.
  • Scooters are programmed with maximum speed of 15 mph and will automatically slow to 6 mph in designated "slow zones."  Click here to view a map of campus slow zones.
  • Parked scooters should not block sidewalks, doorways, ADA access or transit stops.
  • Scooters should not be parked in a way that could endanger pedestrians.
  • Get more information on e-scooter rules and regulations on the U of A campus. 

To report a mis-parked scooter or other problem

The quickest way to report a problem is via the scooter companies' apps. The apps for Spin and Veo can be downloaded onto a smartphone from the app store; otherwise the customer support numbers are:

  • Veo: 1-855-836-2256
  • Spin: 1-888-249-9698

 

Contacts

Ammen Jordan, active transportation coordinator
Office for Sustainibility
479-575-3715, aj077@uark.edu

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