E-scooter startup Spin has launched the UK’s first micromobility fund.
Owned by automotive company Ford, Spin has pledged £100,000 to go towards independent research with the aim of advancing micromobility policy frameworks and enhancing roadway safety.
Earlier this year, the UK government announced the launch of a 12-month trial in which rental e-scooters would be allowed on public roads. As a result, there has been an uptick in e-scooter use.
Spin currently operates in several locations in the US, Germany and the UK, with the company launching an e-scooter trial in Milton Keynes in August.
The fund will support researchers from ten universities in the UK and the US, as well as a number of mobility experts, who will study e-scooter use and explore the challenges and opportunities that come with integrating micromobility into existing transport networks and roads.
The research will also focus on safe travel behaviour, particularly around how safety incidents occur and the factors that impact the real and perceived safety of e-scooters.
It will be based on a variety of data sources including qualitative and quantitative consumer survey data, on-street artificial intelligence (AI) and internet of things (IoT) data captured by Vivacity Lab’s sensors that are installed in the city as well as anonymised e-scooter movement data.
Preparation for the research is underway in Milton Keynes, with the potential to extend it to other cities including London.
Possible outcomes of the research include the mapping of “safe routes” based on riding patterns and user feedback, and recommendations on how local authorities and operators can encourage riders to use e-scooters safely. Recommendations may also include infrastructure improvements or other policy changes to enhance safety for all road users.
Future studies will look at additional topics such as the factors that influence people’s willingness to try e-scooters, how e-scooters are integrated into a multi-modal journeys, and how e-scooters can appeal to a more diverse population.
“The willingness to share independent research and learnings about the adoption of e-scooters with key stakeholders has become less of a priority for operators and this needs to change” said Josh Johnson, public policy manager at Spin.
“Spin is committed to improving and advancing micromobility policy frameworks globally in the markets we operate in. These studies will give everyone fresh and actionable insights. We look forward to sharing best practices with stakeholders in the UK and beyond around how to best integrate e-scooters into local transport networks while maximising safety of all road users and provide communities with a green, fun and socially-distanced way to travel.”