LSV (Low Speed Vehicles) for Personal Transporation

Author: HLP

Scorecard Categories Addressed

  • Cost of Living
    • Overall Cost of Living
  • Transportation
    • Commute to Work Method
  • Resources
    • Air Quality

Solution Description

Promote LSV use for local travel.

To support this, the city should do a "connectivity analysis". The connectivty analysis will identify where people live and locations that they would want to frequent such as parks, grocery stores, schools, places of worship, and work locations. Next, identify roads with speed limits <= 35 MPH (some states have different limits, see the link below).

Note: Publishing this map would help LSV users.

If the key destinations are not easily reached, see if there is an easy way to add the missing connectivity such as changing a speed limit from 45 to 35 mph for a small section of the road.

Ideally, to help reduce range anxiety, charging stations could be set up around town. The following conceptual drawing shows 6 car parking spots being converted to 12 LSV parking spots in addition to some new tables. Solar panels provide the electricity for the vehicle charging.

Charging Station

Example LSVs:

Basic:

LSV1

http://www.cunninghamgolfcar.com/c-36-electric-vehicles.aspx ($7600)

Fun:

LSV2

http://www.cunninghamgolfcar.com/c-36-electric-vehicles.aspx ($17,000)

Enclosed:

LSV3

http://www.polaris.com/en-us/gem-electric-car/passenger-vehicle/e2/pages/overview.aspx ($7800)

Stakeholder Impact

All People
Lower emissions
Lower noise

Families with Kids
Lower cost for local transportation. The most cost effective solution would be for the family to be able to replace a second car with an LSV. This will only work if two cars are not simultaneously needed for regional travel.

For better or worse, many families will buy a car for a new teen driver. LSVs would provide a lower cost option that is also safer for the new driver (max speed is 25 MPH), while still allowing the teen a new mobility option.

Seniors
When the senior needs to hang up their car keys, they should still be able to safely drive the lower speed LSV.

The cost to own and operator an LSV is less than a car and should help when in a fixed income situation.

City
LSVs are 1/4 the size of a full size vehicle. Once enough LSVs are in use, this will allow the city to increase their parking by converting some car parking to LSV parking.

The city could also reclaim some of the parking for other uses such as street side seating for a restaurant. This could lead to additional sales tax income for the city.

Developers
With the reduced parking needs for LSVs, the building footprint can be increased, thereby increasing profits.

Case Study

Augusta Greenway Association:
Group in Augusta Georgia with one of their goals being to promote LSV use. http://augustagreenway.org/wordpress/?page_id=167

AARP Report:
This is an excellent report that includes:

  • Defintions of LSVs
  • Comparision of LSVs to golf carts and cars
  • Example LSVs
  • Safety Considerations
  • Case Studies:
    • The Villages, Florida: Age-Restricted Retirement Community, "50,000 golf carts zip along its trails and streets ... residents make more than three-fourths of their daily trips within the community, largely because of its extensive accessibility for golf carts and LSVs."
    • Peachtree City, Georgia: "many of Peachtree Cityís roughly 34,000 residents (about 13,600 households) use golf carts. More than 10,000 golf carts are registered within the city ... Many students at McIntosh High School drive their golf carts to school ... Several businesses have created designated golf cart parking spaces in front of their stores"
    • Western Riverside Council of Governments, California: Diagrams for how LSVs integrated into the road system
    • Linton, Indiana: "helped the city build upon themes established in its recently adopted comprehensive plan: 'a good place to grow up and a good place to grow old.' It also complemented other age-friendly community work."
  • Recommendations

Some quotes from the article:

"Operating costs for LSVs range from one to three cents per mile, depending on the rate charged by the electrical company and the time of day the vehicle is recharged. By comparison, the fuel costs associated with operating a gas-powered personal automobile (as of 2010) range from nine to thirteen cents per mile, depending on factors such as vehicle size and fuel efficiency."

"The National Household Travel Survey reported nearly 70,000 light electric vehicles and golf carts in operation on the nationís roadways in 2009, the first year the Federal Highway Administration began tracking this vehicle type. Americans took more than 180 million trips and drove nearly 65 million miles on these vehicles that year. Forty-five percent of these trips were taken by persons age 65 and older, a surprisingly high number given that older adults comprise just 13 percent of the U.S. population and account for 12 percent of all trips in the United States."

"More than three-quarters (76%) of all American vehicle trips are 10 miles or less. The use of LSVs for a larger share of these short trips could play an important part in reducing Americaís greenhouse gas emissions."

Full Report: http://assets.aarp.org/rgcenter/ppi/liv-com/insight54.pdf

Littleton, Colorado:
Littleton is a example of city that is a good candidate for adding an LSV network.

LSVLittleton

Littleton has 3 shopping and restaurant areas (star icons) that are connected by a popular bike and pedestrian trail. Each shopping area also has residential close by. In the middle of the trail is an event center (musical note icon) that hosts concerts in the summer and other events throughout the year. At the southern edge of the trail is a large undeveloped property that is for sale (smiley face icon). This property has enormous potential for some combination of residential and retail use and could easily be tied into the proposed LSV network.

Because the trail is in a greenbelt, there is extra open space. This space should be enough room to add LSV lanes. The trail does cross a river in a couple of places, so some widening of the bridges will be needed.

The area along the river is under developed. Adding an LSV network in conjunction with development along the river has potential to dramatically transform the city and be a large economic generator.

Additional Information

Summary of LSV Rules for Each State:
http://www.iihs.org/laws/lowspeedvehicles.aspx

Federal Rules and Definition for LSVs:
http://www.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/rulings/lsv/lsv.html

Quotes from: http://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/200803/twowheeled.asp

"Nearly half of all trips in the United States are three miles or less; more than a quarter are less than a mile."

"A bicyclist can cover a mile in 4 minutes, while a pedestrian requires 20."

A LSV traveling at the maximum speed of 25 MPH could can cover a mile in 2.5 min.

Mobility Diagram

Note: The above 4 min. for 1 mile is 15 MPH. This seems like an advance bicyclist. The Mobility Diagram assumes a less advance bike rider.