Intersectionality of Unshielded Micro-mobility Rider, Uncontracted Gig Worker, and Subtropical City Citizen: Sensing Air Pollution Exposure of Food Delivery Motorcyclists in Kaohsiung, Taiwan


Cheng-Kai Hsu
PhD Student
City and Regional Planning

Tags: Summer Research Funding
Photo of a street

The innovations of micro-mobility—a category of low-speed, short-distanced, and lightweight vehicles that are sharable and increasingly powered by electricity—have disrupted the transportation landscape worldwide, boosting the sharing economy and gig platform markets. However, comprised of open modes (e.g., motorcycle and bicycle), micro-mobility exposes its users directly to higher degrees of on-road environmental hazards, such as air pollution and heat. Leveraging the micro-mobility innovations, a new labor group, gig transportation/courier workers (e.g., on-demand food-delivery riders), who already lack conventional employment contracts and legal protection, can bear greater health burdens as they work/ride long hours in polluted traffic environments. Moreover, the gig transportation/courier workers could be exposed to additional health risks in global warmer areas–where climate change makes the air warmer and more stagnant, thereby worsening the air quality–such as Taiwan, where my research is empirically grounded. In this light, my fieldwork aims to empirically characterize on-demand food-delivery motorcyclists’ disproportionately high air pollution exposure. I performed wearable and mobile sensing in Kaohsiung, one of the cities known for the densest motorcycle use, warm and humid, low-air quality in Taiwan. During this summer, I was able to collaborate with five gig food-delivery motorcyclists to pilot the instrumentations, collect air pollution exposure data (i.e., PM1 and PM2.5), and have preliminary results done, which are helpful for my future larger-scale research. 

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