Spotlight on e-scooter safety in Barcelona

Spotlight on e-scooter safety in Barcelona

An exhibition addressing safety issues caused by e-scooters in Barcelona – developed by RMIT’s School of Design with input from Barcelona City Council – was recently on show as part of a virtual exhibition during Barcelona Design Week 2020.

Solutions developed by RMIT students on e-scooter safety in Barcelona are featured in the Safeness By Design: Urban Context virtual exhibition as part of the International Pavilion at Barcelona Design Week from November 17 to 26.

The project in Barcelona saw students work in groups to tackle e-scooter issues such as safety, helmet use, infrastructure and rider behaviour.

RMIT's Professor Ian de Vere, who led the student project thanked the Barcelona City Council for providing a challenging brief that focused on unpreceded mobility safety concerns.

"The students benefitted from a close working relationship with the city and the opportunity to immerse themselves in Barcelona’s vibrant metropolis – we look forward to working in Barcelona again in the future," he said. 

Mobi: An e-scooter infrastructure system

One solution is Mobi, an e-scooter infrastructure system aimed at reducing resources for e-scooter collection as well as facilitating e-scooter charging.

Mobi was created by RMIT students Benjamin Cummins, Amanda Pacheco Bravo, Ngoc Vy Dieu (Vivian) Huynh and Xi (Felix) Fu.

"The solution addresses the issues created by dockless systems in Barcelona, mainly to reduce the occurence of uncharged e-scooters and the disorder and unsafety they can cause," the students said. 

"It also supports the Barcelona City Council’s mobility goals and is tailored to the city’s landscape, and avoids vandalism and theft while also servicing various stakeholders like rental companies, private scooter owners, city regulators, and citizens.

"Simultaneously, it improves the service provision of e-scooters and integrates with the existing transport system and cycling infrastructure."

Swarm: Rider and pedestrian safety 

Swarm, another project featured in the exhibition, focuses on rider and pedestrian safety in Barcelona.

An app that uses an automated smart navigation system to enhance safety in congested areas, Swarm uses real-time crowd mapping, advanced geo-mapping tech and rider usage data.  

The goal is to empower local businesses and communities to be part of the solution through incentives to collaborate and create a network of e-scooter parking and charging stations.

Swarm is the work of RMIT students Jordan Magana Cruz, Ying (Cameo) Zhang and Kuldeep Jangid.

"Swarm directs users to charged e-scooters in their neighborhoods and then leads them safely to parking areas near their destination," the students said. 

“It also helps e-scooter riders avoid congested areas or unsuitable roads.

"Swarm also tackles other issues like carbon emissions that occur because of the vans and trucks used to collect e-scooters that are no longer necessary and the misuse of public biking parking spaces, among others."

Hop: Digital interventions for safety

Hop enforces safety compliance by ‘ready to ride’ digital interventions to prevent intoxicated e-scooter users and maintain both rider and pedestrian safety. 

Hop was created by students Beau Cruz, Lei Man (Liliana) Lay and Liam Borg.

"Hop addresses the main concern that while under the influence of alcohol, riders don’t wear helmets and also endanger pedestrian safety by speeding in congested areas," the students said. 

"This concern is addressed by ensuring riders are capable of handling their e-scooter and are protected as well.

"In addition, Hop’s geo-mapping system ensures the e-scooters automatically slow down in crowded areas.

"Hop’s e-scooters include indicating lights and smart brake lights, providing an overall safe system.” 

E-Hub: An educational and reward-based system for behavioural change

E-hub aims to create positive e-scooter user behavioural change.

The design solution proposes infrastructure (educational E-hub Stations and E-hub Stops) and digital rider interaction solutions (E-hub App), that focus on rider and pedestrian safety within Barcelona's congested metropolis, through a controlled, supervised and structured rider education system.

E-Hub was the work of students Jiahui (Lucy) Bai, Brayden Dunstan and Shixuan (Simon) Wu.

"This educational and reward-based model addresses reckless, dangerous and disrespectful rider behaviour as well as provides novice riders with the skills and confidence required for safe mobility," the group said.

"The E-hub App incorporates an educational learning module to ensure the safety of users before they start riding in addition to reinforcing positive riding behaviour with a behaviour reward system."

The RMIT student work in Barcelona originated during a study tour in the city in February 2020 and supported by RMIT Europe

In addition to the student projects on e-scooter safety in Barcelona, the exhibition also includes design solutions for social distancing on public transport in Melbourne and safety for women at night.

Story: Gaby Torres and Karen Matthews

25 November 2020


  • Sustainability
  • RMIT Europe
  • Student experience
  • Design
  • Urban Design

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