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E-scooters are reducing congestion and pollution in cities, UK study shows

279 days ago

3 minutes

Source: MMB

E-scooters can provide significant benefits in congestion relief, time savings, emissions reduction, and cutting car use, according to research conducted by University College London (UCL), commissioned by leading UK shared e-scooter company, Voi.

The latest study, by researchers from the Energy Institute at UCL, is one of the first academic studies into e-scooter use that incorporates a first-hand environmental assessment of the service and uses real-world trip data – and also takes into account the full lifecycle of transport mode emissions, from the factory floor to end life.

Analysed data was taken from 190,000 e-scooter trips in Bristol, UK, over a three-month period in 2021 to examine Voi e-scooters’ environmental impact, emissions included.

The types of e-scooter trips analysed included not only those that replaced motorised transport such as cars, buses, and taxis which see a much bigger reduction in emissions, but walking and cycling too, which create a small increase in emissions, resulting in an overall reduction of 45%.

The study found that emissions savings are positive in scenarios with average or long vehicle lifespan (over 6,500km) and with average or better operational efficiency. Voi has invested in both areas to minimise its footprint and maximise environmental benefits for cities and communities.

Researchers also found that e-scooters cut commuting times, especially during peak hours, helping to save users a total of 4,000 hours during the course of the study. In addition, e-scooter trips replaced more than 30,000 miles of motorised transport journeys, helping to reduce pollution and congestion in the city.

Reducing car dependency and decarbonising urban transport is seen as a vital step in achieving the UK government goal of achieving net zero and improving the well-being and efficiency of cities.

In addition, congestion has a significant economic burden, costing the UK economy around £6.9 billion a year, according to a 2019 INRIX study.

Emmanouil Chaniotakis, one of the authors for this study has said: “Essentially, the findings suggest that shared e-scooters have the potential to provide significant benefits in terms of mode shift, congestion, time savings, and emissions reductions if implemented effectively. By replacing trips previously taken by more polluting modes of transportation, shared e-scooters can reduce emissions and congestion during peak periods.

“Local governments should make sure that they invest in those shared e-scooter programmes which are well-regulated and show proof of good fleet management and maintenance, leading to high kilometre lifespan, responsible end-of-life practices and efficient operations.

“Local governments should also introduce and monitor compliance regarding operations, use, manufacturing and end-of-life practices. To see greater impact, they could also work with e-scooter companies to incentivise more effective use (e.g. reduce fares over peak hours or demand-informed deployment that complement public transport and support active travel) to reduce congestion and emissions.”

Jack Samler, Voi general manager UK, Ireland and France said, “It’s great to see the massive impact e-scooters can have in transforming cities, reducing emissions, and cleaning the air around us.

“At Voi, we have invested in building durable e-scooters and ensuring they provide as many rides as possible to reduce their impact throughout their whole life cycle. We are committed to managing our operations as efficiently and sustainably as possible.

“We aim to transform how people move in cities, freeing us from car dependency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, working all the time to reduce the environmental impact of our value chain and operations in the process.”

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