Hundreds of e-scooters to hit Virginia Tech, to test benefit and community response

Researchers will look at strengths and 'the nuisance and hazards'

BLACKSBURG, Va. – New scooters will be a way for hundreds of students to get around the Virginia Tech campus starting next month, and university researchers want to know what the community thinks of them.

300 electric scooters from the company Spin will be available for anyone who wants to use them. Riders will use an app on their phone to find one, pay and find parking locations.

A team at the university will be doing new research on safety and how the scooters fit into communities.

"We’re looking very much for public sentiment. How do the people who live and work on campus every day feel about the scooters being there, both from the benefit of the mobility options that they provide but also the nuisance and hazards and things like that," said Michael Mollenhauer, head researcher and director of the Center for Technology Implementation at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI). 

The scooters will be on campus for 12 months. They won't go faster than 15 mph and will have a lower top speed in high-traffic areas. They will automatically slow down and stop if anyone tries to take them off campus.

The scooters will cost a dollar to use plus 15 cents for each minute.

Researchers will look at footage from cameras mounted on the scooters to see how users approach everything from people to ramps.

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