UQ adds shared e-scooters and e-bikes to its active travel mix

17 September 2021

Some exciting new transport initiatives launched at St Lucia last month, supporting the roll out of shared electric micromobility (e-micromobility) devices on campus, as UQ delivers a holistic approach to active travel.

“The University is a huge advocate for active travel,” says Harshini Ravindran, manager, UQ Transport Systems.

“What does that mean? Active travel refers to methods of travel such as walking or cycling.

“With the growing uptake of e-bikes and e-scooters, we have been working to facilitate e- micromobility on campus. In particular, to deliver access to shared devices.

“Last month, we welcomed both Neuron and Beam to the St Lucia campus. Staff and students can now choose to use the devices to travel within or outside campus to nearby destinations.

“E-micromobility devices are an invaluable addition to the transport options in south-east Queensland, where our hot and humid climate can make it difficult for people to engage in active travel year-round.”

E-mobility strategy

UQ’s first e-mobility strategy has been developed to deliver new infrastructure, education campaigns and a safe riding environment for all.

“We are embracing e-micromobility as a new form of active travel, and harnessing its potential to reduce carbon emissions,” says Dr Carlos Fujita-Dimas, UQ’s energy management program officer and e-mobility strategy lead.

“This can work in two main ways. E-scooters or e-bikes may enable some people to cut back on or eliminate their car journeys to campus completely. For example, an e-bike may facilitate riding just that little bit further than a regular bicycle, especially given some of the hilly terrain around St Lucia.

“Or, an e-micromobility device may help to solve the first mile / last mile problem that others encounter in accessing public transport. So, again, introducing a mix of options could be the difference that encourages them to ditch the car and use greener options.”

On this latter goal, a second research project has launched simultaneously on campus (and around Brisbane), making use of the University’s new e-mobility infrastructure and shared device access. This project introduces the concept of Micromobility as a Service (MaaS). Dr Jake Whitehead is leading the largest MaaS trial in Australia, and all UQ staff and students are invited to participate. Initial details here.

Innovative service delivery

UQ is implementing a staged project roll-out, which also demonstrates an agile new way to deliver UQ services, Carlos explains.

“We are basically trialling a range of ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ infrastructure options (such as signage, safety campaigns, zoning and maps) before committing to long-term policies and investment,” he says.

“We want these devices to integrate seamlessly and safely into UQ life, working well for users and everyone else within our community.”

The trials will collect real-world feedback through surveys and requests, and will also rely on data provided by shared ride services, to gauge micromobility movement patterns and  potential problem points.

“That’s why staff and students may notice that some of our new instalments or initiatives will seem ‘temporary’. This is intentional while we explore different ideas to find out what works and what doesn’t.”

Meanwhile, regular education campaigns on social media and around campus are planned to enhance safety for all.

“Electronic bike and scooter riders are required to comply with all the state and local traffic rules; however, we have some additional guidelines too. For example, e-devices are mostly permitted only on roads and not footpaths around the University,” Carlos says.

“We are currently finalising the shared road services framework, which we’ll be publishing shortly. This document will lay out what each party’s responsibilities are with regards to sharing the roads and other campus spaces.”

Start riding today!

All the information you need to get started can all be found on the main Rideables Transport website, including safety guidelines, a rideables network map and rideables parking zones.