Usage patterns and environmental effect analysis of e-scooter sharing system: A case study in Gothenburg, Sweden

Examensarbete för masterexamen
Peci, Gentrina
Ali, Sadia
Swedish cities are embracing shared micro-mobility systems (SMMS) such as e-scooters sharing systems to promote sustainable travel behaviour in urban contexts with corresponding infrastructure planning. SMMS are associated with various social, environmental, and economic benefits in terms of reducing greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions and noise pollution, preventing diseases (e.g., obesity), impairing traffic congestion, and providing solutions for the first- and the last-mile problem of using public transit. Even though many qualitative discussions about the positive effects of SMMS have been performed, quantitative assessments based on revealed massive usage data are lacking. The purpose of this thesis is thus to evaluate the environmental benefits of e-scooters based on massively big data from shared scooter systems. This thesis is based on the scooter operation data of VOI company in Gothenburg. The used data cover the transaction data of two and half months and includes over 500 thousand valid trip records. On account that e-scooters from VOI companies are merely available in the centre areas of Gothenburg, so only trips using scooters in the central areas of Gothenburg are analysed and investigated. This thesis firstly analyzes the spatial-temporal usage patterns of shared e-scooter systems in Gothenburg and the results showed that most trips last between 5-10 minutes with an average distance of 1793 m. It was also seen that most trips occur on the weekends and that the main peak hour is at six o’clock in the afternoon. Furthermore, it was also seen that the demand for shared e-scooters was much higher in the city center compared to areas located in the outskirts of the city center. Nevertheless, this thesis quantifies the potential environmental benefits of shared e-scooter systems in Gothenburg in terms of reducing GHG emissions. The basic idea is to compare the emission of using e-scooters with those of using other transport modes for the same trips if e-scooters were not to exist. To realize such comparisons, we need to estimate the replaced transport models for every single trip using the scooter and corresponding GHG emissions of using different transport modes for the same trip. The statistics between the percentage of using different transport modes (e.g., walking, bike, public transport and car) and trip distance in Gothenburg are utilized to estimate the replaced transport mode. Simultaneously, the emission factors of using transport models for travelling based on life-cycle assessments are used for calculating emissions of using different transport modes for every single scooter trip. Combining the results about replaced transport modes and GHG emissions of using different transport modes for each trip, the reduced GHG emission due to using the scooter for each trip is quantified. The mean GHG emission reduction for the study area was estimated to be 10.71g CO2. The mean GHG emission reduction was also calculated for different zones where the largest mean value was estimated to be 49.85 g CO2 while the smallest was estimated to be -1.64 g CO2. Furthermore, the greatest overall emission reduction was estimated to be 443594.04 g CO2 in an area located in the suburbs. The results showed that the use of e-scooters are environmentally friendly in some areas while they in other areas lead to higher GHG emissions. One of the main reasons is that e-scooters actually have a very high emission during the production phase if life-cycle emissions are considered. More importantly, the substituted transport by shared scooters matters in terms of reducing GHG emissions. If users use e-scooters for a trip instead of cars that have high emissions, it will generate GHG emission reduction. However, if a trip using a scooter replaces walking or transit with very low emission, it actually adds to emissions considering life-cycle emissions of scooter systems. In conclusion for e-scooters to reach their full potential, the companies behind them must invest in sustainable production and thereby reduce the life-cycle emissions. Lastly, e-scooters may have shown even greater environmental benefits if they were available in the suburbs where the supply of public transport is not as large as they would probably replace car journeys.
Micro-mobility, Shared micro-mobility, e-scooters, big data, GHG emissions, usage patterns
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