Data show that Portland electric scooters are more popular with men than women.
Jennifer Dill, director of Portland State University’s Transportation Research and Education Center, analyzed data from Portland’s four-month-long e-scooter pilot program last year and found a dramatic gender gap.
“Women are far less likely to be riding scooters,” Dill said. “Only about a third of the riders who were Portland residents were women, compared to about two-thirds who were men.”
Dill did previous research on bike share programs around the nation. She found evidence that bike shares tend to mostly attract “a lot of higher-income, well-educated, white, younger people,” she said.
That was not the case with Portland’s e-scooter program.
“With respect to race and income, it seems that the ridership may be reflecting the population of the city of Portland fairly well,” Dill said.
As far as the gender gap in both bike and scooter programs, Dill said, the numbers were almost identical.
The disparity may come down to concerns around safety, she said.
“Women want safer, more separated infrastructure,” Dill said. “A white-striped bike lane is not enough to make a lot of women feel safe biking on the street and the same thing goes for e-scooters.”
Fifty-four percent of Portland women surveyed said having a safe place to ride would increase their use.
“We need to build infrastructure where people feel safe and comfortable riding,” Dill said. “Providing the infrastructure is one of the main things to get at the gender gap.”
The Portland Bureau of Transportation launched a year-long e-scooter pilot program this week.
PBOT tweeted that it would continue partnering with Portland State University to “understand the implications of e-scooter use for cities across the nation.”