We have been working with industry experts MicroMobility Partners on a new project to design innovative approaches to solve safety-related issues associated with e-scooter use. We are looking for your input on the use of e-scooters and are inviting you to fill out a quick survey to voice your concerns or opinions on potential safety solutions.
E-scooter trials were launched in July 2020 in 32 areas across England by the Department for Transport. The trials allow users to rent e-scooters and are currently the only legal way to ride an e-scooter on the public highway.
The trials intend to measure demand for e-scooters and to help inform technical regulations and safety measures for the potential legalisation of private e-scooters. The trials will run until May 2024 and have already highlighted several safety challenges including road infrastructure, helmet usage and rider visibility. The trials are proving e-scooters as a valuable mode of transport with over 14.5 million trips undertaken by December 2021. They offer new transportation options with higher uptake by people of low incomes and ethnic minorities whilst providing an alternative to the private car and are being used on regular trips including commuting.
The evaluation also showed a higher rate of accidents, compared to equivalent bike usage, which may be linked to the novice use of e-scooters. In the year ending June 2021, there were 931 accidents involving e-scooters (including private e-scooter usage). Whilst many of these did not lead to injury, around 250 were considered serious. As a result, Edge Innovation and MicroMobility partners are being funded by the UK government, administered by UKRI, to investigate how e-scooters can be made safer overall. This involves working with a range of organisations including commissioners such as Local Authorities, e-scooter operators, road safety groups and users. To gain insight from stakeholders the team are asking for responses to an e-scooter safety survey. The survey can be accessed by clicking this link: https://bit.ly/e-scootersurvey
Steve Pyer, Director at MicroMobility Partners, said: "e-scooters are a new mode of transport in the UK and legislation is still being debated. With the correct legislation, technology and education they are an enjoyable and emission free way to move around urban areas. The MicroMobility Partners team have over 30 years of combined experience in micro mobility and have been at the forefront of safe sustainable e-scooter operations for over two years. Our involvement will produce clear requirements that can be built into trials, hardware, operations and legislation".
The main safety issues that will be addressed include low levels of helmet use, more than one person riding an e-scooter at one time, inaccurate geofencing which impacts pavement riding, speed restrictions and problems with signalling. The potential beneficiaries of this project include e-scooter users, pedestrians, Local Authorities, operators, and government. The aim is to reduce pedestrians’ fear of e-scooters, reduce anti-social riding, make rider behaviours more predictable to drivers and give users more confidence to use e-scooters.
Simon Green, Chief Executive of Edge Innovation, described the work being undertaken through this project. “When we began talking with MicroMobility Partners about e-scooter safety, it became clear that rider behaviour and public perception of scooters were hugely crucial elements. With this in mind, we are focusing this work on really understanding how people interact with existing e-scooter trials, whether they are regular users or not. This way, we will identify ways to influence future trial designs to improve safety, allowing more widespread acceptance and adoption.”
Edge and MicroMobility Partners are currently working with the operators, commissioners, and users to understand the challenges arising in the trials. This will then lead to consideration of the appropriate response and solutions to overcome these challenges.
All survey responses are greatly appreciated, thank you: https://bit.ly/e-scootersurvey
The project team includes design and project management expertise from Edge Innovation, mobility expertise from MicroMobility Partners, and design engineering expertise from Samson Forth Associates. This project is funded by the UK government and administered by UKRI.
Edge Innovation was set up in 2015 to support innovation with and across public, private, and third sectors, working with organisations of all sizes across different sectors.
Website:Edge Innovation - We enable people to realise positive change. (ed-ge.uk)
MicroMobility Partners are a team of active travel and micro mobility veterans with over 30 years of experience in the industry, from Boris Bikes to British Cycling and Ford-owned Spin mobility.
Innovate UK fund business and research collaboration to accelerate innovation and drive business investment into R&D. Their support is available to businesses across all economic sectors value chains and UK regions. Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation. For more information visit www.innovateuk.ukri.org.
The Tees Valley Business Volunteering Challenge came about through a recognition that volunteering has changed post-pandemic and that more could be done to connect large commercial organisations with Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprises (VCSEs) in the Tees Valley. The challenge was supported by the Tees Valley Combined Authority and funded by the Government Community Renewal Fund. It sought to develop innovative approaches to volunteering, Environmental Social Governance (ESG) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to bring real benefit to both sectors by harnessing the skills and assets within large organisations to support the development of the VCSE sector in the Tees Valley.
The challenge brought together a variety of diverse VCSE organisations and private corporations to utilise the expertise found in large businesses to advance the VCSE sector in the Tees Valley and create innovative collaborations and connections. The organisations involved are highlighted in the picture below.
The challenge identified large organisations as challenge holders, VCSE organisations as solution developers, and EDGE created the connections and support package for the development of future products and services.
The volunteering challenge provided VCSE organisations with business support and grant assistance so they could co-create with large organisations to review ways of building a framework of engagement and formalised structured process(es) to link the sectors and develop ongoing long-term working arrangements.
Using design-led thinking EDGE created a bespoke programme of support for the VCSE organisations through a series of five co-creation workshops and capacity-building sessions.
The first two workshops focus on the VCSE organisations. Workshop one considered and analysed what their needs and current realities were, and what they wanted their future realities to be. The second workshop focused on their ambitions and understanding the anchors and challenges that were holding them back from achieving their preferred future realities. The anchors identified included:
Once the anchors were identified, the private sector partners were invited into the third workshop to understand the perspectives of the VCSE organisations, alongside the challenge holders, to help identify future solutions. The potential solutions identified were:
To support the development of these solutions the fourth and fifth workshops considered the structures required and the delivery mechanisms. All partners agreed that the developments should happen at a sub-regional Tees Valley level where they can cross-collaborate and build on the existing networks and partnerships in place. That a streamlined consortium should be created to move forward the concepts in a simplified lean approach without the need for bureaucratic structures. An aim for the consortium was agreed upon:
We want to create a locally owned infrastructure to develop strategic collaboration. We will create online and physical spaces where VCSEs, Local Authorities, funders and the private sector can access and share funding, skills, knowledge and impact measurement needs for effective strategic collaboration. We are aiming at developing an inclusive, reputable and unified knowledge base.
The cross-sector consortium would be developed building on the partnerships created through this programme, led by Redcar and Cleveland Voluntary Development Agency.
A roadmap for development was created and is highlighted below:
The challenge has contributed to closing the gap identified between the VCSEs and private sector organisations through improved networking and the development of stronger leads. The workshops encouraged the VCSEs to identify their realities and provided them with structures to aid the creation and maintenance of connections with the private sector. The VCSE and private sector perspectives allowed for the identification of three main solutions a) an online platform, b) strategic cross-sector collaborations, and c) improving networking and connections. This has in turn led to the designing of a plan of action and road map to attain the key milestones required to deliver the new innovative solutions.
Challenge next steps
We want to make it easier for small to medium-sized organisations from the Tees Valley to become design alert and for the VCSEs involved in the volunteering challenge to create new products and services based on the solutions identified in the volunteering challenge. Our next steps involve developing a programme for an online platform through the Design for Growth programme. EDGE acknowledge that large businesses predominantly have larger budgets to invest in design, training, and expert facilitation, and this is not the case for smaller and VCSE organisations. Therefore, the Design for Growth programme is available to small to medium organisations from the Tees Valley for FREE.
You can read more about the programme and find out how you can get involved by clicking through the sections below:
Your time is appreciated, thank you for reading.