Spin's Campus Safety Planning Process

Two students stand with scooters in front of a sign which reads Sacramento State.

When it comes to campus micromobility programs, safety is paramount. It’s the issue that matters most to us and to our partners. Over the past 18 months, as our portfolio of campus partners has significantly grown, we’ve learned and developed key principles that inform the process of operating safe micromobility programs on campuses. 

It became clear that to ensure our e-scooter (and also now e-bike) programs are safe, we needed to develop a comprehensive framework for how we successfully launch and operate programs. We are excited to introduce our four-step strategic planning process, and give a few examples of how we utilize it with our partners. 

Step 1: Stakeholder Engagement

Step 2: Campus Transportation Analysis

Step 3: Operations Design

Step 4: Safety and Education Programming

Step 1: Stakeholder Engagement

The best partnerships occur when we engage key stakeholders well in advance of a program launch. We do this in order to better understand each stakeholder’s goals and concerns regarding a new program.

This allows us to directly incorporate stakeholder feedback into our on-campus operation. 

Typically these stakeholders include transportation and facilities staff, student leadership, sustainability departments, disability services, campus planning, and more. 

Frequent topics we address with our partners during this process include geofencing, helmet compliance, and vehicle maintenance.

Documenting this process from the outset of the partnership helps us ensure that a program is meeting or exceeding expectations of stakeholders. We then continue to meet with these stakeholders during the life of the program, and customize our operations to address the evolving needs and opportunities of each of our campus partners.

Step 2: Campus Transportation Analysis

In this design phase, we work with campus partners in a way that leverages their local expertise about the campus environment, combined with our experience operating micromobility programs on campuses across North America. A thorough understanding of the campus environment and the impact of micromobility is something we research and analyze together with our partners. 

By understanding what assets to leverage, such as bike lanes, separated paths, bike racks, traffic calming infrastructure like low-speed roads and traffic humps, we can effectively design a program that is safer for all. Liabilities, such as high-speed roadways or intersections, are crucial to plan around and address. We’re able to geofence these areas so that our micromobility vehicles will not be able to operate in dangerous locations. Similarly, in areas with high pedestrian traffic, we can automatically enforce lower vehicle speeds. Planning and designing with these liabilities in mind have helped us to create safer programs on campuses.

Map of Penn State University campus, showing existing transportation routes and infrastructure; we leveraged these existing assets when identifying deployment and preferred parking areas for e-bikes.

At Emory University, we effectively geofenced parking garages and major pedestrian thoroughfares after a discussion with their Transportation Department, and at Penn State University, we collaborated with their Transportation Department to help identify and set up parking zones at existing bike parking locations throughout their campus.

Ultimately, our university partners know their campus best, and we often lean on their local knowledge and expertise, and collaborate on a plan together. 

Step 3: Operations Design

Prior to any new launch, we develop a shared map with customized geofencing and deployment locations, to actively manage the system and encourage compliance with program rules. This map shows exactly where vehicles will be deployed, and the exact location of slow-ride, no-ride, and no-park geofences. The map exists as a guide for all of our operations staff and is a living document that can be edited as needed.

One of the most crucial aspects of a successful program on a university campus is the team that is overseeing the operation on the ground. A dedicated team of W-2 employees serving each campus is an exception from the industry norm of contract workers handling fleet management. Hiring quality employees within our local warehouse creates a culture of accountability and a sense of ownership among staff while ultimately improving communication with our campus partners. The following are some key ways in which we ensure responsibility and responsiveness is designed into each of our local operations:

Deployment and Geofencing Map from University of Central Florida. Geofencing prevents scooters from operating beyond campus boundaries as well as slows scooters on dense pedestrian cores.

Step 4: Safety and Education Programming 

One of the key ways that our campus programs are unique compared to cities is that they have a seasonality based on either semesters or quarters. Accordingly, ridership tends to skyrocket on the first day of classes, and then drop after finals. From a safety standpoint, this means it is absolutely critical that we take advantage of the time when students are on campus to reach them with safety and education programming.

We approach this by developing a semester- or quarter-based safety and education plan that offers weekly programming implemented in partnership with student leaders and administrative partners. The plan focuses on delivering educational information through events and scheduled communications each week throughout the semester. This includes peer-to-peer instruction delivered in person by our safety ambassador teams.

Our ultimate goal is to build a culture of safe and responsible micromobility use on campus. We focus on building a culture of safety, because once we know that key behaviors are embedded culturally, they are more likely to gain widespread adoption. 

Our commitment to doing the right thing

As the micromobility unit of Ford Motor Company, we are well-positioned to invest in long-term campus partnerships rather than short-term growth. With a portfolio that includes dozens of campus partnerships across North America, we have established ourselves as the clear leader of campus mobility. Our thoughtful approach to our Campus Safety Planning Process is what guides us to ensure a program is safe, and ultimately successful in the eyes of all stakeholders.

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