City of Reno: Evaluation of electric scooter pilot program (sociodemographic characteristics)

Project title

Evaluation of Electric Scooter Pilot Program – Sociodemographic Characteristics of Micromobility Users

Research question

What are the sociodemographic characteristics of micro-transit (electric scooter) users and how does micro-transit use vary with different types of transit infrastructure and public transit access?


In the State of Nevada, the transportation sector generates 35% of greenhouse gas emissions representing the largest percentage by sector. Reno is a car-dependent city. Most commute-to-work trips and errands require a car resulting in 25% of local greenhouse gas emissions coming from passenger vehicle use.

The Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County (RTC) is investing in transportation infrastructure to provide residents with more transportation choices. Bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure will encourage people to leave their cars behind. RTC has built 230 miles of on-street bike facilities and 86 miles of off-street facilities in Reno. The comprehensive Bicycle & Pedestrian Master Plan identifies and prioritizes 339 additional miles of sidewalk and 116 miles of bicycle facilities to be constructed by 2040.

The City of Reno adopted its first Sustainability & Climate Action Plan, which calls for a 28% reduction in climate pollution by 2025 and 40% by 2030. Expanding use of shared, micromobility alternatives is one of the actions identified to transition to low-carbon commutes. The city implemented an electric scooter pilot program to test and evaluate use of these devices as a micromobility solution.

This research project will assess who is using electric scooters and for what types of trips. It will compare the data to local demographics to evaluate whether electric scooters are improving equity in access to transportation alternatives such as transit and providing better connections to jobs, healthcare, recreational space, food, and amenities.
The city would like to gain an understanding of how electric scooters will help the city and RTC to achieve goals for establishing a more sustainable and equitable transportation system that is affordable for residents at all income levels.


Economics faculty member Mark Nichols is interested in serving as mentor for this project. The electric scooter vendor captures an array of data from users and rides. Access to the anonymized data will be provided for analysis. The city may also collaborate with the vendor to conduct a survey designed by the team to gather additional information as needed. Key components of the assessment include:

  • Evaluation of the percentage of users who are low-income individuals.
  • Evaluation of the sociodemographic characteristics of locations with the greatest usage (pickup and drop-off destinations).
  • Estimate the percentage of all trips used for commuting versus recreation.
  • Evaluate the percentage of users that are regular users, versus tourists, one-time or infrequent users.
  • Evaluate usage related to transit and transportation infrastructure through proximity of destinations to transit stops and stations.
  • Evaluate the length of trips that begin or terminate near transit stations.
  • Estimate the percentage of trips used to complete the “first mile” or “last mile” of transit.
  • Evaluate trips that connect users to a range of destination types such as transportation, jobs, healthcare, parks and recreational spaces, healthy food outlets, and other amenities identified.
  • Evaluate the percentage of low-income users that are utilizing electric scooters to access this range of destination types.

You will deliver a report of the findings and GIS data shape files.

Suggested skills

Research, writing, analysis, GIS

Agency representative

Lynne Barker
(775) 334-2288