PPPM's Anne Brown Debunks Myth of 'Scooter Clutter'

March 16, 2020

photo of San Francisco street San Francisco is one of five U.S. cities where Anne Brown researched parking habits

The rise of shared electronic scooters and bikes in cities across the country has sparked debate about how these alternative modes of transport clutter public spaces such as sidewalks, and how they should be regulated accordingly.

Anne Brown—an assistant professor who specializes in innovative mobility and transportation in the School of Planning, Public Policy and Management—has found that this is a misconception. Cars, in fact, are the biggest offender in causing hazardous congestion in cities. Portrait of Anne Brown

With Nicholas Klein (assistant professor of city and regional planning at Cornell’s College of Architecture, Art and Planning), Brown has co-authored the study “Impeding access: The frequency and characteristics of improper scooter, bike, and car parking” in the journal Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives.

Across five U.S. cities—Washington D.C.; Austin, Texas; Portland, Oregon; San Francisco and Santa Monica, California—the researchers collected 3,666 observations of e-scooters, bikes, motor vehicles, and “sidewalk objects” such as sandwich boards. They found bikes and scooters were parked incorrectly in only .8 percent of insistences, while the rate for cars was 24.7 percent.

“One of the things we’re really excited about with this research was putting all the methods and data collection tools online—so cities and whoever else, really, can easily replicate this using the same methods,” Brown told the Cornell Chronicle.

Read more about the study in the Cornell Chronicle story “Study explores micromobility, improper parking in 5 cities.