Shared E-scooter Adoption and Mode Substitution Patterns

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Chen, Yun-Hsuan
Mokhtarian, Patricia L.
Andris, Clio
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This thesis explores the adoption and mode substitution patterns of e-scooters using survey data from four metropolitan areas in the southern United States, obtained from Fall 2019 to Spring 2020. For adoption patterns, we find a positive correlation between the use of ridehailing services and being an e-scooter user, as well as observed higher multimodality for e-scooter users compared to non-users (N =2,914). E-scooters are found to be used by people with lower income, higher racial diversity, and certain disabilities. For substitution patterns, we examine heterogeneity in trip attributes, substitution patterns, and rider characteristics in a sample of e-scooter rides (N=295). With a latent-class cluster analysis, we identify three distinctive classes of e-scooter rides and associated users. The off-to-nightlife class (39.9%) captures many rides for social and recreational trips at night, many of which substitute for private vehicles, ridehailing, or taxis. Many users associated with this class are college-educated and middle-aged with middle-to-high household income, convenient access to cars, and positive attitudes toward density, technology, and environmental policies. The weekend-fun class (31.9%) includes many trips made “just for fun” by users, many of which would not have been made otherwise. Riders taking this type of trip rarely use e-scooters, live in the least dense suburbs with auto-oriented lifestyles, and are more likely to be female, older (relative to the other classes), well-educated, and wealthy. The commutes class (28.2%) tends to involve short rides during weekday daytime for work/school-related trips, most of which would replace active modes. Most commutes users are low-income young students with diverse racial backgrounds and limited access to cars. These tend to reside in the densest neighborhoods and are the most multimodal in the sample. For each class, we discuss behavioral mechanisms and policy options for sustainable transportation. In brief, this thesis fills important literature gaps by identifying heterogeneous e-scooter rides and users, incorporating attitudes, and focusing on the southern U.S.
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