Although the pandemic disrupted the e-scooter boom in cities across the country, their popularity has re-emerged. Scholars are now returning to the question of how micromobility can provide people with additional transportation options.
Georgia State’s Urban Studies Institute has introduced the Micromobility Lab, the first of its kind in the United States. Its interdisciplinary researchers seek to inform micromobility transportation policies in metropolitan regions and provide technical assistance.
Georgia State Law Center for Law, Health & Society and Center for the Comparative Study of Metropolitan Growth associate directors Stacie Kershner (J.D. ’08) and Karen Johnston (J.D. ’08) are lab affiliates, lending their legal expertise. Recently they collaborated with students Audra Durham (J.D./M.C.R.P. ‘21) and Claire Humston Bass (J.D. ’21) to assess how micromobility can advance transportation equity goals.
“Micromobility is seen as a way to address the ‘first/last mile problem’ and extend transportation beyond what is walkable to or from a bus or rail stop,” said Bass. “For some people, this could expand the ability to get to jobs, health care facilities and grocery stores.”
Due to structural disparities, low income and minority communities may not have access to micromobility. “Cities are exploring ways to increase e-scooter access to a more diverse ridership through regulation,” said Durham. “Cities can require e-scooter companies to distribute scooters equitably across neighborhoods, offer alternative payment options beyond smart phone apps and provide discounted options to riders who demonstrate financial need.”
“Regulating Micromobility: Examining Transportation Equity and Access,” was published in the Journal of Comparative Urban Law and Policy.