Could micro-mobility reduce urban traffic congestion?

Students use bikes and scooters on UF campus at night

Micro-mobility is an emerging form of transportation which involves shared electric bikes or scooters. Micro-mobility companies have been rolling out in metropolitan areas across the United States and around the world. User surveys conducted by micro-mobility company Bird indicate that individuals utilize micro-mobility to access public transit. The potential exists for micro-mobility to improve first-and-last-mile connections and decrease congestion, but transportation agencies need to explore if and how that can be accomplished.  

That is exactly what this Southeastern Transportation Research, Innovation, Development, and Education (STRIDE) Center-funded project led by Dr. Xilei Zhao, Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil & Coastal Engineering, aims to do.  

The project, “Micro-Mobility as a Solution to Reduce Urban Traffic Congestion,” involves three parts. The first uses big data analytics to examine how demand for micro-mobility services varies based on time and location across multiple U.S. cities. The second part of the project uses traffic simulators and results and insights gained from the first part to simulate and evaluate whether and when micro-mobility can ease congestion. The third part of the project will recommend realistic policies that could encourage a shift from automobile transportation to micro-mobility and public transportation.