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Are e-scooters contributing to transport-related social exclusion?

Mapping supply practices in London’s micro mobility pilot

14 March 2022

Electrical micro-mobility alternatives have grown in cities. Yet, little is known about their connections to Transport Related Social Exclusion. This research uses recent e-scooters trials in London as a departure point to explore the opportunities and challenges of micro-mobility. It seeks to understand how new vehicles and platforms cause disruptions in behaviours, practices, attitudes, and priorities of a range of urban actors.

The project started with funding from UCL Collaborative Social Science Domain (CSSD) and has now expanded due to additional support from Innovate UK.

Aims

The project aims to leverage the concept of transport-related social exclusion (TRSE), as an entry point for a dialogue with market, state, and civil society actors about their practices and how these practices lead to intended or unintended social impacts. It will map social and spatial inequalities associated with the provision of urban transport service disruptions brought about by the adoption of e-scooters as part of Transport for London’s (TfL) trial in London, identifying their potential to sustainably address transport-related social exclusion (TRSE), while securing necessary partnerships to co-produce knowledge and foster innovation.

Objectives

(1) From a perspective of Transport Related Social Exclusion (TRSE) to challenge current understandings of how the adoption of micro-mobility disrupts attitudes and practices of those involved in planning, developing, regulating, and providing transport. (2) Through the lenses of accessibility and transport inequalities, to analyse how e-scooters affect residents with different social identities. (3) To identify opportunities and challenges, including incentives and disincentives for leveraging micro-mobility to address TRSE. This approach can help unpack the practices, perceptions, and relationships of actors in a new and rapidly changing industry such as app-based transport services (ABT) and understand changes brought about by broader external. As shown in Figure 1, we reinterpret the seven dimensions of TRSE suggested by Church et al. (2000) to address specific aspects of transport provision relevant to e-scooters, reframing the goals and practices of different actors in relation to TRSE.

Research Team

Dr Daniel Oviedo, Lecturer, Development Planning Unit, The Bartlett (PI)

Professor Helena Titheridge, Professor of Mobility and Sustainable Transport, Department of Civil, Environ &Geomatic Engineering, Faculty of Engineering Science (Co-PI)

Dr Joanna Hale, Research Associate, UCL Centre for Behaviour Change (Co-PI)

Dr Azadeh Mashayekhi, Lecturer, Development Planning Unit, The Bartlett (Early Career Researcher)

Dr Thaisa Comelli, Development Planning Unit, The Bartlett (Associate Researcher)

Njoud Al Hurr (Postgraduate Research Assistant)