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Austin launches pilot to test scooter infrastructure

Austin Transportation and Swiftmile are undertaking the six-month, no-cost pilot project to test the usability of the company’s universal scooter parking and charging stations for e-scooters.

 

 

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Austin has a Vision Zero goal of eliminating traffic deaths and serious injuries on its streets
Austin has a Vision Zero goal of eliminating traffic deaths and serious injuries on its streets

The city of Austin, Texas, has announced a partnership aimed at increasing accessibility and improving access to fully charged e-scooters while, at the same time, reducing sidewalk clutter.

 

Austin Transportation and Swiftmile have embarked on a six-month, no-cost pilot to test the usability of the company’s universal scooter parking and charging stations for electric scooters (e-scooters) in downtown and other high scooter traffic areas of the city.

 

E-scooter travel patterns

 

Over the next six months, any e-scooter will be able to park and eventually charge at the stations for free. The 10 temporary stations are primarily located downtown. These locations were chosen based on e-scooter travel patterns and data the city has collected since April 2018.

 

The pilot project will be separated into two phases. During the initial phase, the stations will be installed without batteries and will serve only as organised parking spaces for e-scooters. Each station offers six- to eight e-scooter parking spaces. Batteries will be added to each station during the second phase, providing power and allowing scooters to charge while parked in each spot.

Timeframe for introduction of the pilot will be determined by market forces and scooter data to ensure there are sufficient e-scooters in the market to accurately evaluate outcomes

The second phase of the project has been pencilled in for late August 2020. However, due to decreased ridership during the Covid-19 pandemic, the partners said the timeframe for introduction of the pilot will be determined by market forces and scooter data to ensure that there are sufficient e-scooters in the market to accurately evaluate outcomes.

 

The partners report the 10 stations will be cleaned and sanitised on a regular basis throughout the life of the pilot. During this project, city staff and Swiftmile employees will conduct surveys to collect feedback and understand user behaviour related to the stations.

 

According to city authorities, the outcome of this pilot project will help inform programmes and policy around mobility and scooters in the future.

 

In collaboration with area partners, Austin Transportation Department spearheads the city’s “vision zero” goal of eliminating traffic deaths and serious injuries on its streets, as well as delivery of a 50/50 commute type split by 2039.

 

These goals were set out in the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan which seeks innovative solutions and piloting technology that can decrease the use of single-occupancy vehicles and improve safety.

 

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