Oslo’s St. Hanshaugen District and Voi collaborated to implement parking infrastructure by reallocating space for micromobility and car alternatives. Solving parking and infrastructure challenges demands cross-sectoral efforts and will be key in creating safe and thriving zero emission areas. The Norwegian Institute for Transport Economics led research investigating the experiment’s impact concluding dedicated parking spots are needed to support the adoption of net zero modes.
After decades of urban development centred around combustion engine cars, it’s no wonder that a key barrier to the creation of zero emission areas is linked to infrastructure and parking. Even in the electric vehicle capital of the world, Oslo, car alternatives have an important role to play to support healthy and thriving zero emission areas. They help mitigate congestion, free up space and support affordable and inclusive mobility.
Demand for shared micromobility is sky high in Oslo, with 70% of the city’s population downloading Voi’s app and over 5 million Voi rides taking place in 2020. Oslo’s love affair with e-scooters has led to some growing pains, particularly around parking and street clutter as little space has been allocated for the new mode.
Sustainable mobility: let’s talk infrastructure
In June 2020, Voi installed its first e-scooter parking racks in Oslo, Norway, in collaboration with The Institute of Transport Economics (TØI), in a bid to address the needs of vulnerable groups and to improve e-scooter parking. Voi collaborated with associations for the visually impaired and those with access needs to design inclusive parking solutions. The St. Hanshaugen district contributed to the strategic placement of the parking racks, while TØI studied the effect that physical parking infrastructure has on user behaviour, alongside Voi data scientists, through a combination of surveys, GPS data, and video analysis of selected areas (360 hours of film).
Space was given on both public and private ground for the dedicated micromobility parking areas. Racks were deployed in the city as well as incentivised parking zones, where users receive credits when they successfully park in these zones. Access the full report and English summary here.
Key findings and Impact
The study led by TØI researcher Katrine Karlsen was published in a report called “Parking solutions for shared e-scooters”, sharing insights into the findings and impact of the parking experiment. The research was financed by the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, Institute for Transport Economics, Viken county municipality, Trondheim municipality and Oslo municipality, with contributions from the district of St. Hanshaugen and Voi Technology.
- Racks have a clear effect on parking behaviour. 50% of all e-scooter users end their rides in or near the racks, indicating that physical infrastructure can significantly reduce clutter.
- Effect fades at increased distances. The placement of racks must be strategic have the desired effect on e-scooters parking and higher density of parking racks increases the effect. On average, users are only willing to walk 1–2 minutes to find a parking rack.
- Visibility is key. Users are willing to walk extra meters if they see a parking rack, and the positive effect is larger when parking racks are easily visible to users, in areas where they usually park. Incentivised parking also had an effect, but not as significant as the parking infrastructure.
- Citizens show a positive attitude towards parking racks. Surveys conducted by TØI show that both e-scooter users and non-users have a positive attitude towards these measures and noticed a positive difference in parking behaviour post-deployment of the racks.
- Improved parking behaviour. Our data show a 65% increase in responsible parking behaviour in the designated locations, as illustrated by the heat map (see below). Racks also provided the added benefit of finding e-scooters more easily making the service more reliable and convenient for users, strengthening car alternatives.
To support inclusive adoption of micro-mobility, amongst women and older generations, as well as ensure the new mode does not negatively impact vulnerable groups, it’s vital that parking and safety concerns be addressed together. Voi is thrilled the St. Hanshaugen district worked closely with us on these infrastructure and parking interventions and that TØI accompanied us in analyzing the promising results. The Oslo parking experiment shows how mobility providers, municipalities and researchers can come together to find solutions that support sustainable behavior change and zero emission, safe and inclusive transport. We encourage other local authorities to join the movement and reallocate space to new forms of mobility to build greener and healthier cities.