E-scooters are a shared mobility service that has emerged in recent years, initially without government permits or regulation. In response to the disruption, the city of Portland, Oregon created the E-Scooter Pilot Program under the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) to work with the startups managing scooter systems to ensure that its development could remain in line with Portland's overall vision and policy values. The pilot was designed to assess whether e-scooters served as a viable way of meeting the city's transportation needs, and sought to gauge its effectiveness at reducing traffic congestion, avoiding injuries from scooter use, expanding transportation access for underserved communities, and reducing air pollution. To measure these goals, PBOT instituted data-sharing requirements with the companies operating within the city, requiring them to provide data on real-time availability, trip origins and destinations, and safety information. This information was supplemented with a rider survey, a citywide poll, focus groups, an online complaint form used to track violations, and community and stakeholder input. The pilot lasted 120 days and involved more than 700,000 e-scooter trips.
The fact that sidewalk riding was lower along streets with lower speeds or designated bikeways demonstrates the importance of having protected facilities that minimize conflicts between pedestrians, e-scooters, and cars.
- Understand the challenges on scooter safety and user behavior enforcement for pedestrians and people with disabilities. PBOT conducted scooter parking observations, which recorded 357 parked scooters across the city, from October 19 through November 20, 2018 and collected feedback from one focus group with nine people with disabilities that represented a wide range of mobility, hearing, and vision abilities. The observations and focus group discussion revealed the following:
- 27.2 percent of the scooters were not properly parked in the furnishing zone (blocking bike or pedestrian movement).2.8 percent of them impeded ADA access.
- Focus group feedback suggested that PBOT should be aware about the challenges on safety and user behavior enforcement, such as parking issues (e.g., scooters blocked ADA access). Moreover, based on the feedback, balance and blindness were stated barriers for people with disabilities to use the e-scooters. A three- or four-wheeled scooter could be a good accommodation.