Infrastructure and Policy Needs for Personal Electric Mobility Devices in a Connected Vehicle World Final Report


The Personal Electric Mobility Device (PEMD) is becoming a popular, accessible mode of transportation among the people who used to walk, bike, and drive cars. Although PEMDs have plenty of features, their safety and operational features while running on a walkway or roadway are less known. As these devices are too fast for a footpath and too slow for highways, they may need particular infrastructure and policy. This report provides the outcomes of an investigation on policy and infrastructure needs for PEMDs on walkways and in the connected world. This study analyzed the safety data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) to investigate the features of accidents related to PEMDs. Data was collected from the NEISS Query Builder website for four NEISS product codes (1329-Electric Powered Scooters, 1744-Electric Mobility Cart, 3215-Mopeds, and 5042-Electric Skateboards) from 2006 to 2017. It was found that there were  1,085,352 estimated injuries nationwide for these four products during that time. This study analyzed PEMD-related injuries by time (year, season, month, day, weekend, or workday), the demographics of the victims (gender, age, race), the location of the crashes, and affected body-part of victims. Following this analysis, an experiment was conducted to examine the effect of a hoverboard on pedestrians’ walking speed in traditional operating conditions; it was found that pedestrian walking speed was reduced up to 10% when sharing the walkway with a hoverboard. Based on the experimental data, a simulated environment was created in VISSIM, a micro-simulation software, to measure any changes in operating characteristics of the pedestrian with and without PEMDs on a walkway. The simulation results concluded that PEMDs like a hoverboard or an electric scooter increased the delay time on the sidewalk; this magnitude is higher for a narrow path than a wider one. In a real-world test, the feasibility of a hoverboard was evaluated in a connected environment, and it was found that a connected vehicle could detect the hoverboard at a stopping-sight-distance at a certain speed. However, the connected vehicle should be more cautious as the hoverboard is much faster than a pedestrian. Finally, this report provides some recommendations for using PEMDs on walkways shared with pedestrians.