Electronic-powered devices are all the rage nowadays. While we’ve always had rechargeable batteries in phones, Tesla has one-upped that with commercial electronic vehicles. Now, the power alternative is moving to scooters.
Big-Time Innovation On A Small Scale
While on the surface Jelly looks like any other electric scooter, this one is a bit different. Ford created the device – the massive automaker, and not just a startup. Of course, that means there is a ton of money behind the project, both in development and in marketing.
Interestingly enough, Ford isn’t entirely open about this collaboration. The company isn’t mentioned on Jelly’s website, nor in Purdue’s announcement of the project. Instead, the vehicle description is:
“Jelly isn’t just yet another e-scooter brand, but the name given to a a campus-wide research project on best practices for using e-scooters. This is thought to be the first academic research to study how the oft-maligned e-scooters can best be incorporated into an urban environment.”
In the following weeks, Purdue University will have 40 scooters around campus. This will be during the first four weeks of testing. Interestingly enough, the period is during the colder, snowy months of November and December. Purdue’s Darcy Bullock, a Lyles Family Professor of Civil Engineering and the director of the Joint Transportation Research Program, is heading the project.
Lack of Emissions
The alternative transportation coordinator at Purdue, Aaron Madrid, believes in the positivity of electric scooters. He thinks they can reduce parking problems, lower traffic congestion, and of course, mitigate poisonous emissions into the atmosphere:
“E-scooters are a nice, green transportation choice that helps address the ‘last mile’ problem in high population density environments where many people use public transit or park on the outer edge. The scooters are already safer than motor vehicles, but this research will help us learn more about how to make their use even safer.”
However, it’s important to note that these scooters may not be permanent. Madrid reveals that Purdue will use the data to judge on-campus usage. Civil engineers and city builders across the world will utilize it as well. “To have actual data about what does and does not work” is the best thing according to Madrid.
The coordinator believes that most news surrounding e-scooters has been negative. Organizations are allegedly “dumping scooters in a city and creating chaos,” or merely pitching themselves instead of providing any vital information regarding the topic.
Available For Everyone
For students to use Jelly, the must first download the app from the Apple App Store. The initial test period will only be available on iOS, but any iPhone owner, including visitors, can take advantage of it. Fortunately, the Jelly app will reveal the locations of any scooters on campus alongside activation instructions.
A senior civil engineering major, Cassie McKee, rides a longboard around the campus – much like other students. However, she’s excited about an alternative travel tool:
“They’re fun, and the students like them. But as a civil engineering student, I’m hoping people will use them in an appropriate way. For example, it really annoys me when I see someone leave one so that it blocks the ADA ramp on a sidewalk.”
Purdue enforces the same rules for scooters as they do with bikes. Students cannot ride either in buildings or even on sidewalks – only on designated paths and the roads. Plus, when on the road, these devices should be managed just like any other vehicle, according to Madrid:
“Whether you are on a bicycle or an e-scooter, if you are operating it in the road — which the law allows — you have to obey all traffic laws.”