Authors: Susan Shaheen, Caroline Rodier, and Amanda Eaken
To evaluate the potential for low-speed modes to improve transit access, the EasyConnect field test will offer shared-use Segway Human Transporters (HT), electric bicycles, and bicycles linked to a Bay Area Rapid Transit District station and surrounding employment centers in California. Because of safety concerns, research was conducted to understand the risks associated with these modes and potential risk factors. A review of the safety literature indicates that user error is the major cause of low speed mode crashes, and significant risk factors are poor surface conditions and obstructions to drivers’ vision. As a result, an extensive training program and carefully selected routes have been included in the field test. The regulatory and legislative history of the HT is chronicled to understand how concerns about its interaction with pedestrians have produced legislation that includes specific safety requirements. The low-speed modes used in this project will be equipped with safety devices, and participants will be required to wear helmets. The survey results of 13 HT implementation projects provide insight into potential advantages and challenges to the field test. Results of interviews and meetings with field test stakeholders are presented with a discussion of their influence on the field test design. Finally, conclusions and future project steps are discussed.