Exploring Shared Micromobility as an Alternative Transportation Option: Opportunities and Challenges in U.S. Mid-sized Cities and Small Towns

With over half a billion trips taken in the United States (U.S.) since 2010, shared micro-mobility has quickly developed as an alternative to private automobiles, providing safer, cheaper, and more accessible ways for people to get around. This advancement has increased transportation options, especially for low-income populations. In tandem with the surge in shared micromobility, there is an exponential increase in privately owned micromobility devices, particularly in electric-assist bicycles (e-bikes) and scooters. Several cities and towns across the U.S. are exploring shared micro-mobility as an alternative transportation option for trips that are too far to walk but too short to drive. Because micromobility is still a relatively new and emerging mobility option, most transportation agencies lack data-driven tools to measure the costs and benefits of shared micromobility systems. Agencies also lack guidance on integrating shared micromobility in the planning and designing of their transportation systems. Besides, micromobility is generally discussed with examples from major cities, with little to no discussion on the efficacy in midsized cities and small towns in rural areas. That is partly because micromobility modes thrive on high economies of density that rural areas lack. This research aims to study the usage patterns of shared micro-mobility in mid-sized and small cities. Specifically, the research team aims to answer the following questions: Who is using shared micromobility, and for what kinds of trips? what factors affect shared micromobility device ridership? Is the shared micromobility system equitably serving mid-sized cities and small towns? What factors affect the safety of micromobility device users? The project will enhance the understanding of shared micro-mobility patterns in rural transportation contexts, promoting overall mobility improvements with a focus on safety and equity. It will emphasize protecting rural communities, especially vulnerable populations, from safety risks (safe public), employing data-driven decision-making and comprehensive approaches for safety (safe system), and expanding affordable access to transportation opportunities (expanding access). The findings from this study will be generalized to create new insights about implementing micro-mobility in mid-size cities and small towns, which have lagged larger cities in offering flexible transportation alternatives to private vehicles.


    • English


    • Status: Active
    • Funding: $Federal: $104,603.28 Matching: $52,301.64
    • Contract Numbers:


    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

      University Transportation Centers Program
      Department of Transportation
      Washington, DC  United States  20590
    • Managing Organizations:

      Florida A&M University, Tallahassee

      404 Foote/Hilyer
      Tallahassee, FL  United States  32307
    • Project Managers:

      Moses, Ren

    • Performing Organizations:

      University of Washington Tacoma

      1900 Commerce Street
      Tacoma, Washington  United States 
    • Principal Investigators:

      Kitali, Angela

      Kidando, Emmanuel

      Dillon, Heather

      Walters, Jeffrey P.

    • Start Date: 20230901
    • Expected Completion Date: 20240831
    • Actual Completion Date: 0
    • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01896747
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: Rural Equitable and Accessible Transportation Center
    • Contract Numbers: 69A3552348321
    • Files: UTC, RIP
    • Created Date: Oct 19 2023 4:44PM