Life of the Dockless: E-Scooter Parking in San José

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New Mineta Transportation Institute research adds evidence to the debate about whether the parked devices block other sidewalk users
November 14, 2018
San José, CA

Shared e-scooters have grabbed the attention of the media, the public, and city officials. Heralded by some as a potential solution to first and last-mile travel needs, the scooters are loathed by others for their perceived haphazard usage and abandonment on city sidewalks. For the latest research perspective by the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI), Where do Riders Park Dockless, Shared Electric Scooters? Findings from San José, California, researchers observed e-scooters parked in San José and analyzed the extent to which the devices posed a problem to other road uses.

Of the 530 e-scooters MTI researchers observed and photographed in downtown San José, 97% were well-parked. They were standing upright, placed on the edge of pedestrian paths or already obstructed areas, and not blocking pedestrian access.  

MTI researchers concluded that fewer than 2% of e-scooters blocked access for the disabled as most scooters were parked out of the way of pedestrian traffic on the edge of sidewalks or in areas already obstructed with objects such as benches, newspaper boxes, and trash cans, suggesting that perhaps e-scooter parking regulations may not need to be particularly strict. While e-scooter parking is mostly a question of sidewalk management, the authors note that cities also consider the management of e-scooters parked on private property.


At the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) at San Jose State University (SJSU) our mission is to increase mobility for all by improving the safety, efficiency, accessibility, and convenience of our nation's’ transportation system through research, education, workforce development and technology transfer. We help create a connected world. MTI was founded in 1991 and is funded through the US Departments of Transportation and Homeland Security, the California Department of Transportation, and public and private grants. MTI is affiliated with SJSU’s Lucas College and Graduate School of Business.


Kevin Fang is an Assistant Professor at Sonoma State University, Asha Weinstein Agrawal is a Professor at San José State University, Ashley Hooper is a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Irvine, Jeremy Steele is a student at McGill University, and John Joseph Hunter is a recent graduate of San José State University.


Irma Garcia, MTI Communications & Workforce Development Coordinator


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