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UA, TDOT partner for e-scooter research projects

Posted at 6:08 AM, Dec 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-10 13:14:01-05

TUCSON, Ariz. - The University of Arizona and Tucson Department of Transportation are partnering on an e-scooter research project.

Two assistant professors at the University of Arizona, Kristina Currans and Nicole Iroz-Elardo, are leading multiple research efforts involving e-scooters.

The purpose of the research efforts is to "assist the city in collecting and analyzing data to help inform the outcomes of the TDOT e-scooter pilot program," according to a letter Currans and Iroz-Elardo wrote to City of Tucson council members.

The research project run by Currans and Iroz-Elardo is multi-faceted.

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The first part of the project explores "whether e-scooters are used to compliment or substiute existing transportation modes (such as personal vehicles or transit), and whether those patterns vary across different demographic users," according to the letter.

In order to get some of this information the University of Arizona is partnering with the City of Tucson to "administer a user survey to all existing Tucson e-scooter users," according to the letter.

The survey will capture information about how people have used e-scooters like how often, for what purpose, how else they would've taken the trip etc.

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"We're looking at who are using these scooters, how they're using them, their preferences, whether they think there are areas of improvement and their experiences with the two specific companies which are vendors here in Tucson," said Currans.

The second portion of this research project examines "non-optimal behavior" across four potential sites in Tucson, according to the letter.

In this portion of the study there are research partners at the University of Utah who will collect data as well.

Researchers in both Tucson and Utah will collect and process video data to "explore how "non-optimal behaviors" like riding a e-scooters on the sidewalk, varies across facilities with/without bike lanes, with/without streetcar tracks, and larger versus smaller arterial facilities," according to the letter.

The research efforts were made possible after the two research assistants were sponsored by the National Institute of Transportation and Communities to explore the users and uses of e-scooters in Tucson.

Here is a link to the survey.