Research Team: PI: Karina Schneider Team:
About this project:
As the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) embarks on a one-year dockless mobility pilot program, both LADOT staff and the residents they serve have raised concerns over equity and access. Dockless mobility refers to dockless or free-floating bicycles, electric bicycles, and electric scooters available for short-term rental that have begun to proliferate in cities across the country. LADOT staff have permitted eight companies with an accumulated 36,000 vehicles. Because the distribution of scooters across Los Angeles neighborhoods is far from even, LADOT staff are currently using CalEnviroScreen 3.0 to identify disadvantaged communities where regulations incentivize operators to deploy their scooters. However, CalEnviroScreen 3.0 is a metric developed to identify communities likely affected by environmental injustices and as such prioritizes environmental exposure factors over those that may affect transportation access.
The purpose of this project is to first address the CalEnviroScreen limitations in analyzing dockless mobility equity by developing an access-focused Dockless Equity Map that locates the most socioeconomically and access disadvantaged communities in Los Angeles. LADOT staff could then produce regulations that promote enhanced dockless outreach and service in these areas. I constructed this map using data on socioeconomic characteristics (e.g. poverty level, race, etc.) and spatial access indicators (e.g. job accessibility by transit, car ownership, etc.). The Dockless Equity Map includes areas in the San Fernando Valley, East Los Angeles, South Los Angeles, and the Harbor that may be the most appropriate targets for dockless mobility equity policies.
While developing an appropriate Equity Map is a crucial step, simply dropping scooters in underserved areas will not translate to equitable access. The final section of this report identifies actions that LADOT staff can take during the one-year pilot and beyond to ensure equitable access in the Dockless Equity Map areas. Through interviews with community-based organization representatives, I developed the following recommendations: 1) engage with residents in the Dockless Equity Map target areas in order to educate them on dockless mobility, 2) utilize data collected during the one-year pilot to set specific equity goals, and 3) address infrastructure and safety concerns.