Virginia Tech students and faculty now have the opportunity to use electric scooters (e-scooters) to cruise around campus — while also contributing to research.

The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) is partnering with scooter company Spin to conduct a naturalistic driving study of scooter riders on Virginia Tech’s campus. Starting on Sept. 1, 2019, 300 e-scooters will be available at university ride-share stations for check-out using the Spin app for short commutes across campus.

As part of a pilot research initiative, VTTI is equipping 50 of the scooters with forward-facing cameras and other research equipment, allowing researchers to record and analyze trends in rider behavior, interactions with other road users, and other valuable safety data. The cameras will record the area directly in front of riders. However, with approval from the Institutional Review Board, up to 20 fixed cameras will also be placed in public places around campus to capture additional footage of scooter interactions. Read the abstract here.

The pilot program will last a total of 18 months. Scooters will be operational for 12 months, with a review of the research occurring over a 6-month period.

In striving towards a more sustainable campus, Virginia Tech is committed to supporting the safe use of a wide range of alternative transportation options. The Blacksburg campus will serve as a living-learning laboratory for the e-scooter initiative. In this light, ensuring the safety of riders and the campus community will be paramount to all e-scooter efforts.

The Virginia Tech Human Research Protection Program (HRPP) and Institutional Review Board (IRB) have reviewed the research protocol and determined that it meets the criteria for exemption from IRB review under 45 CFR 46.104(d) category(ies) 2(i),2(ii).

E-Scooter Research Survey
VTTI is currently seeking feedback on e-scooters from all members of the university community who are 18 or older and have been on the Virginia Tech Blacksburg campus in the last week. The survey should take less than 5 minutes to complete. Participants will be entered into a drawing to win $50. Take the survey at https://bit.ly/2Z0v8lz. The survey will end Oct. 4, 2019.

View the scooter deployment map where scooters can be picked up and dropped off on campus here. Please note, locations are subject to change. Click here for the scooter campus limits map.

Got a question not addressed by the FAQs above? Email the Alternative Transportation Department at gettingaround@vt.edu.