In August 2021, we joined forces with Women in Transport and public affairs agency JFG Communications, and commissioned in-depth research into gender equity and e-scooter usage. This is an important step in having women’s voices heard around shared transport, and looks not only at Voi riders but at the industry as a whole. Similar to cycling, e-scooter riders are still predominantly male, for example, only 30% of our riders in the UK are or identify themselves as women.
We then launched the first Gender Equity Commission to review and make recommendations on the findings. We are delighted these are being presented at an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Women in Transport meeting, taking place today, Monday 16 May at the House of Commons. See the “Shared e-scooters and gender equity” report.
The report looks at, for example, how a lack of infrastructure that enables safe, segregated scooting, is a barrier to women using e-scooters. Women also want to gain a better understanding of the law around e-scooters, and need access to safe, well-lit parking spots.
Key findings and recommendations
The research findings are summarised into five subject areas: the perceived benefits and disadvantages of riding shared e-scooters; perceptions of shared e-scooter riders; knowledge and understanding; service design; and perceptions of infrastructure. The findings of the research, which was in the form of both a questionnaire of nearly 500 women and five focus groups, relate not only to Voi but to the sector as a whole. The key findings and recommendations include:
- 79% of all respondents said that not feeling safe due to infrastructure was a barrier to (further) riding.Recommendation: Local and national governments should place the development of infrastructure and reallocation of road-space in our cities at the heart of their mobility frameworks, and at the top of their wider transport, environmental and public health agendas.
- 83% of survey respondents (strongly) agreed that drivers’ and other road users’ attitudes towards e-scooter riders was a barrier to (further) using shared e-scooters.Recommendation: Local authorities should provide clear, positive communications about the status of shared e-scooters in their regions.
- 90% of overall survey respondents agreed (strongly) that they were confident riding a scooter in the day-time, but only 64% at night-time.Recommendation: Local authorities and e-scooter operators should collaborate to ensure local environments and cultures support night-time safety for women, for example, ensuring public spaces are sufficiently lit, and providing bystander awareness and education to help prevent violence and harassment of women and girls.
- 83% of respondents think docking locations can be a barrier to riding if not located in safe and useful areas.Recommendation: Local authorities and e-scooter operators should collaborate to ensure women’s transport needs and experiences inform the development of e-scooter regulation and services in specific areas, particularly the location of parking docks and development of infrastructure.
- While 99% of regular riders understand the difference between private and shared scooters, 59% of non-riders said understanding of laws and regulations surrounding e-scooters was a barrier to riding shared e-scooters.Recommendation: Government(s) should provide clarity and certainty over laws around both shared and private e-scooters.
Voi’s Gender Safe Parking Standard
Following the report’s findings, we have taken a number of steps to address the challenges posed by women when it comes to using shared micromobility. As well as piloting night-time safety events in the UK and Europe, we are working towards creating a new Gender Safe Parking Standard.
The location of e-scooter parking has been highlighted as being crucial to women’s usage of e-scooters, not only for safety but also to cater for their lifestyles and routines, with many women the main caregiver, doing school runs and so on.
Voi’s Gender Safe Parking Standard will involve the technical assessment of parking locations based on agreed metrics mapped to a number of indicators that are directly related to women’s safety, to make sure Voi’s Parking Zones meet the requirements.
“Just referring to the parking station – making sure they are quite illuminated and signalised, especially during the night they’re not hidden by trees, they’re not behind that corner where people could be in danger.” (Focus Group 4, Regular user Group, Every day)