Dockless electric scooters and the sustainable mobility transition in Stockholm : User study, stakeholder insights and policy perspectives
Abstract: In the context of increasing car ownership in Stockholm, this thesis explores the emergenceof e-scooters in the city and what role they could play in achieving a transition away from carusage.This is explored using theories of sustainable transitions: the multi-level perspective,transition management and strategic niche management. These theories are used to guide theempirical enquiry of this research project and to suggest areas of further research and possiblepolicy recommendations. Empirical Findings This study used a mixed-method strategy consisting of interviews with key stakeholders andan e-scooter user survey (n=408). The interviewees from Stockholm Region and two e-scooter operators were broadly inagreement that e-scooters could have a positive impact going forward, whilst acknowledgingchallenges. The interviews highlighted a good level of both private-private and public-privatecooperation in the industry and signalled that this cooperation is key if e-scooters are to be asustainable aspect of Stockholm’s transportation system. The survey indicated that e-scooters are a poor substitute for private (self-owned) car use i.e.only 4% of recorded journeys shifted away from self-owned car use. However, e-scooterswere found to be a much stronger substitute for taxi/ride-hail journeys with 10% of e-scooterjourneys shifting away from them. Survey findings were used to compare the GlobalWarming Potential (GWP) of e-scooters with the modes people used otherwise. It found thatthe modes people would have used had a GWP of 64g per km travelled, which compared to131g (Moreau et al, 2020) and 125g (Hollingsworth et al, 2019) for e-scooters reported in theliterature and 35g reported in a study conducted on behalf of Voi - an e-scooter company(EY, 2020). For a discussion on these figures please refer to sections 2.2.1 and 6.2.3. The timing of the survey gave a unique opportunity to explore the impact of Covid-19 on escooter journeys. A statistically significant difference between the modal shift of journeystaken before and after the Covid-19 outbreak (P-value= 0.027) was found, with journeystaken during the Covid-19 pandemic more than twice as likely to have shifted away from anytype of car use than journeys taken before the outbreak. The discussion was framed using theories of sustainable transitions. It argued that e-scooterswill not achieve a transition away from mobility on their own. However, if there is a moregeneral switch from ownership to usership in the Stockholm transport sector, e-scooters (andother micro-mobility) could substitute an increased number of taxi/ride-hail journeys whichwould see them contribute to a more environmentally sustainable transportation system. Thefinal part of this thesis discusses policy options that would help e-scooters find a space withinStockholm’s transportation systems where they can best achieve environmental sustainabilitygoals including the importance of using a multi-actor approach, a flexible cap on the numberof e-scooters, environmental merit-based tender processes, e-scooter parking charges andminimum prices.
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