The UK’s TRL (Transport Research Laboratory) has launched a new service for testing powered micromobility solutions, assuring both the safety performance and handling of the technology in real-world settings.
Presently, micromobility vehicles such as e-scooters, hoverboards and e-skateboards are currently only legally permitted for use on private land in the UK. A key challenge in achieving widespread rollout is ensuring that they can be safely integrated into the wider transport system.
On-road trials of shared e-scooters are underway across the country as part of the Department for Transport’s Future of Transport Regulatory Review. In these trial conditions, e-scooters are permitted on public roads and allowed to mix with other traffic, meaning it is essential that they perform in a safe and reliable manner.
George Beard, head of new mobility at TRL, explains: “To assist with ongoing real-world trials, TRL has designed a set of standardised tests which can be applied to a variety of powered micromobility solutions. With years of experience in the design of safety tests and standards for a variety of European transport regulations under our belt, we can deliver an independent and technology-agnostic service to assess the safety of micromobility vehicles and provide assurance to transport authorities and end users.”
TRL’s standardised test methodology covers three key areas, though the approach can be tailored to meet specific client needs and vehicle specifications:
- Emergency brake testing to assess stopping distance and vehicle response under different conditions, ensuring the vehicle can be brought to a safe and controlled stop without endangering either the rider or other road users.
- Vehicle stability testing when traversing different surfaces and when user control may be compromised (e.g. making hand signals to turn), providing confidence that users are able to manoeuvre the vehicle effectively and safely.
- Geofencing testing is an optional extra used to assess operators’ ability to locate and control the e-scooters. For example, testing the responsiveness of automatic functions when entering ‘slow speed’ or ‘no ride’ zones.
Targeted at OEMs, operators and transport authorities, TRL’s new fixed price service provides an independent report based on an assessment of the vehicle’s key performance and safety features.