Safe-D: Safety through Disruption

Simulation-based approach to investigate the electric scooter rider protection during traffic accidents. A step forward for safer e-scooters and for standardized national safety policies


The increased popularity of rideshare scooters was recently observed due to their availability, accessibility, and low cost. Benefits to their use include reduced traffic congestion and more environmentally friendly alternative to motor vehicles. However, there are some concerns regarding the safety of riders and the impacts these vehicles have on those who share roads and sidewalks with them (e.g. 2.4 to 18 times more people per trip are injured on e-scooter sharing than on bicycle sharing). While non-collision-induced falls seem to be the main cause of scooter injuries (~60-80%), the collisions with vehicles and pedestrians represent the causes of other scooter injuries. Currently, a standardized national policy does not exist outlining the requirements to use a rideshare e-scooter, and the research data is very limited. This simulation-based study develops a better understanding of the injury mechanisms and injury risks for e-scooter during traffic accidents. A finite element model of a generic e-scooter is developed and then connected with a human finite element model in a rider posture in order to simulate the most common scooter accidents. Based on the injury data recorded in sensitivity studies performed using Design of Experiment (DOE), we expect to estimate possible reductions on rider injury risks in terms of maximum speed, use of various safety equipment, and using/avoiding sidewalks. Finally, recommendations for e-scooter design and standardized national policies for the protection of the rider and pedestrians will be provided.

Project Highlights

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Final Report

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EWD & T2 Products

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Final Dataset

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Research Investigators (PI*)

Costin Untaroiu (VT/VTTI)*
Alexandrina Untaroiu (VT/VTTI)*
Daniel Grindle (VT/VTTI-Student)
Yunzhu Meng (VT/VTTI-Student)
Cole Hefner (VT/VTTI-Student)
Gen Fu (VT/VTTI-Student)

Project Information

Start Date: 2020-10-01
End Date: 2023-05-31
Status: Active
Grant Number: 69A3551747115
Total Funding: $365,155
Source Organization: Safe-D National UTC
Project Number: 05-116

Safe-D Theme Areas

Big Data Analytics

Transportation as a Service

Safe-D Application Areas

Risk Assessment
Vulnerable Users
Vehicle Technology
Operations and Design
Planning for Safety

More Information

UTC Project Information Form

Sponsor Organization

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology
University Transportation Centers Program
Department of Transportation
Washington, DC 20590 United States

Performing Organization

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Virginia Tech Transportation Institute
3500 Transportation Research Plaza
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061