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Researchers Develop Process for Identifying Optimal Locations for Micromobility in Small Cities

Posted: Oct 25, 2021

NDSU researchers developed an analytical process for identifying optimal station locations for scooter and bike sharing systems and other forms of micromobility in small cities and rural areas. They used Fargo as a test case for their research.

"Micromobility Station Placement Optimization for a Rural Setting" by Taraneh Askarzadeh and Raj Bridgelall was recently published in the Journal of Advanced Transportation. Askarzadeh is a doctoral student in the NDSU Department of Transportation and Logistics and is a graduate research assistant with NDSU's Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute. Bridgelall is an assistant professor of transportation and logistics and a researcher at UGPTI.

Micromobility uses small human- or electric-powered vehicles to move people short distances. While this form of mobility has numerous advantages such as cutting travel cost, reducing pollution and traffic congestion, and promoting public health, there are challenges with identifying ideal placement of stations to encourage adoption and minimize conflict with other transportation modes. Most research and development related to micromobility has been focused on large urban areas.

The NDSU researchers developed an analysis that accounted for unique land-use settings, street geometry and local traffic situations. They also factored in the level of traffic stress for bicyclists to ultimately identify key activity points as locations for potential stations. In their Fargo case study, they identified five potential locations, most near NDSU and the downtown area, but with two stations extending mobility to shopping and residential districts in the southeast and southwest areas of the city. The process developed for this study could be adapted to other small urban and rural areas by using local roadway, pathway, intersection, land-use, population, and traffic data.

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