Assessment of Drivers' Behavior and Workload while Interacting with E-scooters Using a Driving Simulator
Motorized scooters (e-scooters) have become an emerging alternative mode of transportation in cities worldwide. E-scooters provide mobility as a service (MaaS) with benefits related to easement of movement at peak times, reducing the need for parking space in congested cities, and serving customers of special traffic generators (i.e., universities and commercial centers). Nevertheless, city planners and transportation decision-makers have concerns related to e-scooters due to impacts on equity, accessibility, and road safety, particularly to vulnerable road users (VRU) and the riders.
Shared e-scooter services were massively introduced in the U.S. in 2017 (FARS, 2019). Since then, the reported injury rates related to e-scooters raise the alarm for concern. As roadway crash databases need to be updated to include e-scooter related events, researchers have used other sources of information to detect e-scooter crash events and related factors. One shared micro-mobility service provider reported a rate of 37.2 injuries per million miles ridden on e-scooters, or equal to one injury per 26,881 miles ridden (BIRD, 2019). Yang et al. (2020) identified 169 e-scooter crashes from news reports across the U.S. from 2017 to 2019. Within these reported crash events, the two most common crashes were e-scooters colliding with a motor vehicle in the travel lanes (30.2%) and at intersections (23.1%).
The primary objective of this research project is to evaluate and better understand the drivers' behavior and mental workload during interactions with e-scooters in potentially dangerous situations on urban roadways (at intersections and sharing the same travel lane). This research will raise awareness of particular interactions between drivers of motor vehicles and e-scooter riders on urban roads. The goal is to intensify the efforts that should be done to reduce and ultimately eliminate the frequency of crashes and fatalities involving e-scooters.