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Docked vs. dockless equity: Comparing three micromobility service geographies

Si'an Meng and Anne Brown

Journal of Transport Geography, 2021, vol. 96, issue C

Abstract: Docked bike-share programs have proliferated worldwide, but studies find that the distribution of docked stations is geographically unequal. New dockless systems offer more flexibility compared to docked systems, but it remains unclear if dockless systems can address existing geographic inequities. This study examines all 32 US cities with both docked and dockless micromobility (bikeshare and e-scooter) programs and develops three service geography indicators to compare the geographic equity of docked versus dockless systems. We first use Lorenz curves and Gini indices to examine the overall spatial distribution of micromobility; we then use logistic and Tobit regressions to investigate how service geography corresponds to neighborhood characteristics. Results show that the distribution of docked systems is extremely unequal, and that dockless systems greatly reduce geographical inequalities relative to docked. Low-density areas and neighborhoods with low median household incomes, smaller shares of young people, and fewer zero-car households have limited micromobility service. Docked services are less prevalent in communities of color, and the implementation of dockless systems yields mixed outcomes for racial equity. Importantly, designated service areas do not always translate into available micromobility vehicles. Policymakers should use program design and performance metrics to address the mismatch between designated and actual service geographies and to ensure that micromobility services benefit marginalized communities.

Keywords: Micromobility; Transportation equity; Service geography; Bikeshare; e-scooters (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2021.103185

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