Voi’s primary focus in our operations is the safety and security of all road users — e-scooter riders, cyclists, vehicle drivers, and pedestrians. Individuals with disabilities, such as people with sight or hearing loss, face unique challenges when navigating the world, and we’re committed to making streets and pavements more accessible for these vulnerable groups.
We strive to engage in close discussions with local organisations representing vulnerable groups to ensure that we do our part to implement the tools and technologies that help to remove unnecessary obstacles to free, safe movement.
We’ve outlined some of our new and existing collaborations, as well as technological and educational initiatives, that address the needs and concerns of vulnerable road users.
Collaborations with relevant organisations
To help ensure our operations embed the right safety measures that reflect the impact of e-scooters on individuals with sight loss, Voi is now working directly with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) in the U.K. By working with the RNIB, we aim to better understand the needs of blind and partially sighted pedestrians, and we are now taking the first steps to implement the organisation’s expertise and recommendations to make our e-scooter pilot programs safer for pedestrians with sight loss. Recommendations look at key elements, such as parking, rider education and training, e-scooter sound alerts, and ensuring e-scooters are kept off pavements and pedestrianised areas. We are delighted to collaborate with the RNIB on these initiatives, and we will update on our joint efforts in the near future.
With the support of the Norges Blindeforbund (Norwegian Association for Visually Impaired), Voi launched a pilot e-scooter parking rack project in Oslo last summer to determine what measure and infrastructure affect parking behaviour. The St. Hanshaugen district, where the parking racks were installed, determined strategic placement of the racks, while the Transportøkonomisk Institutt (Institute for Transport Economics) studied the effects on user behaviour. Early findings showed that racks encouraged good parking behaviour: users tended to end their rides neatly near or in a parking rack, helping to minimise pavement clutter. Through this project, we’re one step closer to creating an evidence-based approach to adopting micro-mobility infrastructure that makes a marked difference in pavement clutter.
Harnessing technological innovations
In December 2020, we teamed up with CityMaaS (a U.K. startup with a platform where users can find accessibility info and relevant travel information to aid in journey planning) and Captur (a London-based computer vision startup that helps companies manage photo evidence of rentals) to give all road users — particularly vulnerable ones — a simple way to locate, navigate around, and report any misplaced Voi e-scooters that may cause concern to the public or obstruct pathways. Learn more about our partnership here.
To help solve pavement riding and boost safer riding behaviour, we’ve partnered with Luna, a precise positioning and computer vision technology company for micro-mobility, on a pilot program that combines the latest in computer vision and GPS technology with our e-scooters. The technology is currently being trialled on Voi e-scooters in Northampton. Read more about the initiative here.
Focusing on rider education
To promote safer, more courteous riding behaviour, we educate our users on a range of safety measures, including rules of the road, traffic signals, e-scooter dos and don’ts, how to park properly, and awareness and protection of vulnerable groups. Through regular email communications, in-app messaging, and our online traffic school, Ride Like Voila, we ensure that our riders are well-equipped with the knowledge to ride our e-scooters with their safety — and the safety of others — in mind. We’ve also implemented a monitoring system that warns or eventually blocks users who violate the rules.