Researchers Jennifer Dill, Jiahui Ma, Nathan McNeil, Joseph Broach and John MacArthur of Portland State University have published a new article in the November 2022 issue of Transportation Part D: Transport and Environment. The open-access article, "Factors influencing bike share among underserved populations: Evidence from three U.S. cities," examines bike share use and interest among lower-income residents and people of color in New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia.

There is evidence that lower-income and people of color (POC) in the U.S. do not use bike share as much as higher-income and white people. Using data from residents living near bike share stations in New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia, the paper examines reasons for these disparities. Researchers looked at many factors that might explain bike share use and interest in lower-income, racially diverse, traditionally underserved neighborhoods. They focused on residents who live near bike share stations, so that proximity would not be a barrier.

A few key findings:

  1. People who are not members, but are interested in using bike share, including POC, are motivated to use bike share for fun, recreation, and social reasons (as opposed to utility).
  2. Knowledge of bike share and receiving information from interactive sources (for example,...
Read more

Researchers Rob Hemphill, John MacArthur, Jennifer Dill and Philip Longenecker of Portland State University; Garima Desai of the University of California, Santa Cruz; Lillie Nie of the University of Southern California; and Abbey Ibarra of California State Polytechnic University-Pomona have published an article in the August 2022 issue of the Journal of Transport and Land Use.

The article, "Congested sidewalks: The effects of the built environment on e-scooter parking compliance," offers recommendations for policymakers and future research around the impacts of the built environment on electric scooter (e-scooter) parking.

With the proliferation of e-scooters in cities across the world, concerns have arisen about users parking them on sidewalks and in other public spaces. Research has looked at e-scooter parking compliance and compared compliance to other mobility devices, but until now, research had not yet examined the impacts of the built environment on parking compliance. Using a field observation dataset in Portland, Oregon, and novel GIS data, the authors attempt to understand the spatial distribution of e-scooter parking and the impact of built features on parking compliance.

The results of the study show that 76% of e-scooters observed fail at least one of Portland’s parking compliance requirements and 59% fail at least two criteria...

Read more

Would monetary incentives encourage more people to buy e-bikes? 

Portland State University (PSU) researchers are examining how purchase incentive programs can expand the current e-bike market, and the latest product to come out of this research is a white paper released earlier this month: “Using E-Bike Purchase Incentive Programs to Expand the Market – North American Trends and Recommended Practices (PDF)

The paper offers methods of identifying the most effective program structure for the incentive provider's priorities, and helpful information on how to administer and track the program. 

Read more

For governments and clean energy advocates looking to encourage people to use e-bikes for transportation, a new online tool from Portland State University researchers offers an overview of the existing incentive programs in the United States and Canada.

The E-Bike Incentive Programs in North America table tracks e-bike purchase incentive programs and key details that can provide a point of reference for the development of future e-bike incentive programs and policies, or for further research on the topic. Read a recent article about the tool in BikePortland.

John MacArthur, researcher at PSU's Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC), led the development of the tool with the help of PSU transportation engineering masters student Cameron Bennett, a 2021 Dwight D. Eisenhower Transportation Fellow.

COMPARING TYPES OF E-BIKE INCENTIVE PROGRAMS

While the tracker shows a wide variety of approaches, Bennett identified Saanich, BC as demonstrating an especially...

Read more

Citing two TREC studies, Congressman Jimmy Panetta of the 20th District of California and Congressional Bike Caucus Chairman Earl Blumenauer of Oregon have introduced the Electric Bicycle Incentive Kickstart for the Environment (E-BIKE) Act to encourage the use of electric bicycles, or e-bikes.

The E-BIKE Act creates a consumer tax credit that:

  • Covers 30% of the cost of the electric bicycle, up to a $1,500 credit
  • Applies to new electric bicycles that cost less than $8,000
  • Is fully refundable, allowing lower-income workers to claim the credit

The first TREC study referenced, The E-Bike Potential: How E-Bikes Can Improve Sustainable Transportation, found that if 15% of car trips were made by e-bike, carbon emissions would drop by 12%. This finding was based on a Portland, Oregon case study. The researchers also created an Electric Vehicle Incentive Cost and Impact Tool which enables policymakers, public stakeholders, and advocates to quickly visualize the potential outcomes of...

Read more

The Portland State University Bike Hub has received funding to purchase 25 electric bikes via a new grant from Portland General Electric.

The Bike Hub is a full-service retail bike shop on campus, opened in 2010. The shop offers long-term bike rental through its VikeBike program, a fleet of over 140 bikes offered at low cost (or no cost, based on need). The program’s existing fleet was assembled by collecting and refurbishing abandoned bikes on campus and made available to students for long-term rentals.

PSU will use this funding to purchase 25 Batch Bicycles e-bikes, to supplement the rental fleet and provide greater access to those living further from campus or those with physical barriers to cycling, and serve as a pilot program toward the eventual full replacement of the rental fleet with e-bikes.

Read more about the PGE program on BikePortland, or read about TREC research focusing on e-bikes.

Photo by Edis Jurcys

The Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) at Portland State University is home to the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), the Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation (IBPI), and other transportation...

Read more

A new paper in the Journal of Planning Literature by Michael McQueen, Gabriella Abou-Zeid, John MacArthur and Kelly Clifton of PSU took a look at micromobility. The article focuses on the role of new modes like shared e-scooters in the efforts to cultivate a more sustainable transportation system by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, providing a reliable and equitable transportation service, and enhancing the human experience. Their review of the literature shows that the sustainability impacts of these modes are at present mixed, and are likely to remain so without more targeted interventions by local stakeholders. Yet, the operations and use of micromobility systems are quickly evolving and hold promise for contributing to a more sustainable transportation system.

Read the online journal article, or access the free author version (PDF) here.

Orange e-scooters on the road in Portland, Oregon
Michael McQueen, Portland State University

Is shared micromobility the ideal first/last mile supplement to transit? Can electric scooters make it easier for historically disadvantaged populations to get around? In just three years, brand-new fleets of e-scooters have substantially disrupted and altered the urban mobility landscape. For proponents, it's tempting to view them as a new answer to old problems. A just-released study finds however, that while there is potential for improved mobility if they are paired with other interventions, the shiny rows of e-scooters parked around cities aren't a catchall solution for our longstanding issues.

Portland State University (PSU) graduate Michael McQueen surveyed nearly 2,000 PSU students in his masters thesis, "Comparing the Promise and Reality of E-Scooters: A...

Read more
Paper Bike Share Equity Briefs Arranged on a Table
John MacArthurNathan McNeil and Joseph Broach, Portland State University

Last year, Portland State University’s Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) released a 130 page evaluation comparing equity-oriented programs from over 70 U.S. bike share systems across the U.S. Bike share being a relative newcomer to the transportation system, the research team was not surprised to find that approaches to equity programs ranged widely. In the latest installment, funded by the Better...

Read more
A close-up view of the motor mounted on the back of an e-bike, behind the rider's seat.

Authored by Mike McQueen and John MacArthur, Portland State University

Electric bikes (e-bikes) are quickly becoming common in U.S. cities and suburbs, but we still have a ways to go compared to our neighbors across the Atlantic.  In recent years, e-bike sales have steadily increased with unprecedented growth in Europe, especially in the Netherlands. Can the U.S. catch up? E-bikes offer a cheaper alternative to car travel and also provide physical activity. Riders with limited physical ability find that e-bikes...

Read more

Pages