Crowdsourcing Parking Data for Micromobility Vehicles


As dockless micromobility services become more commonplace, so too are instances of mis-parked bikes and scooters, and associated complaints from other travelers and residents. Concerns over problems with parking are responsible for delaying or limiting the scale of dockless services in some cities, which limits the utility of these services to travelers. In a preliminary scan of major US cities with dockless bike-sharing and scooter sharing, it was found that most cities have a web page dedicated to the regulations and guidelines about how shared vehicles should be parked. They generally direct people to contact the respective companies in case of a bike or scooter parking infraction and provide phone numbers and/or email addresses to contact them.

There is no consensus among cities on what the best method is to collect information regarding bike and scooter parking infractions. The methods currently in use include reporting to the city or directly to the offending companies, in most cases by phone or email. Further, there is no way to track whether the companies are resolving complaints about infractions in a timely manner.


Research Objectives

This project will develop a mobile app that streamlines the reporting of mis-parked dockless scooters and bikes, relaying data to companies responsible and/or local governments while generating a data set that can support a variety of research questions. The proposed app will allow users to easily collect and report essential data to a company whose bike or scooter is mis-parked. The data reported will include:

  • Vehicle location, automatically detected by the user’s phone
  • Vehicle ID number (read from a QR code or barcode on the vehicle)
  • Type of problem (e.g. blocking ADA access, not upright, outside of designated parking area)
  • Optionally, a photo of the vehicle showing the problem

It is suggested that the initial development should happen as a web-app as it will be quicker to deploy since native apps also have to go through a certification process on the respective app stores. Once the UI for the application is finalized, tested and established, a React-Native mobile app may be considered as an option for power-users who would prefer speed and additional features available through login.

The specific research objectives to be advanced through this research are to develop a mobile app that facilitates reporting of mis-parked micromobility vehicles to companies responsible and local authorities and to collect data on mis-parked bikes and scooters from initial user deployment of the app.

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Don MacKenzie

Assistant Professor, UW

Don MacKenzie is the Principal Investigator on this project.

Xuegang (Jeff) Ban

Professor, UW

Xuegang (Jeff) Ban is a Co-Principal Investigator on this project.