Feb 23, 2021

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...

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Feb 23, 2021

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 percent of car trips were made by e-bike, carbon emissions would drop by 12 percent. 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 an electric vehicle incentive program in their own region.

The second TREC study cited, A...

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Dec 14, 2020

Mike McQueen is a second year PSU masters in transportation engineering student working with John MacArthur and Kelly Clifton. A two-time Eisenhower Fellow, and the 2019 YPT National StreetLight Fellow, Mike researches e-bike travel behavior, and in this video he describes his work on How E-Bike Incentive Programs are...

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E-bikes
Jun 29, 2020

MOBILITY BY E-BIKE STUDY

Share your trips with transportation researchers to grow knowledge about e-bike mobility and sustainability.

We're seeking e-bike users from all over the U.S. to join a new research project led by John MacArthur of Portland State University and Chris Cherry of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. They're looking at the sustainability effects of e-bikes and utilitarian travel behavior of e-bike users, including origin, destination, route, time, speed, mode replacement, and trip purpose. Passively share your trips with us - just plug in a dongle, download our app, and ride like you normally do. The study is open to U.S.-based participants who ride an e-bike with a Bosch onboard computer, and use an iPhone.

Questions? See our Frequently Asked Questions. To learn more and participate, visit the Mobility By E-Bike Study project website.

HOW DOES THE STUDY WORK?

1) Instrumentation

Researchers developed a low-impact instrumentation platform that leverages and merges the unique capabilities of e-bike and smartphone sensors. This technology relies on communication between the e-bike and...

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A close-up view of the motor mounted on the back of an e-bike, behind the rider's seat.
Jun 25, 2020

Authored by Mike McQueen and John MacArthur, Portland State University

Read the 2020 research paper in Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment with updated model & findings.

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 extend their overall mobility. Beyond the practical, e-bikes are also just fun to ride. In fact, e-bikes encourage users to cycle farther and more often than conventional bicycles. More...

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Apr 05, 2018
Principal Investigators: John MacArthur, Portland State University; and Christopher Cherry, University of Tennessee
Learn more about this education project by viewing the Executive Summary and the full Final Report on the Project Overview page.

If more drivers switched seats to a bicycle, there would be immediate and tangible benefits on the road. Widespread adoption of bike commuting could improve public health through increased physical activity and reduced carbon emissions, as well as ease the burden on congested roads. However different lifestyle demands, physical ableness, and varied topography create an unequal playing field that prevents many from replacing their car trips.

Electric bicycles (e-bikes) are a relatively new mode of transportation that could bridge this gap. If substituted for car use, e-bikes could substantially improve efficiency in the transportation system while creating a more inclusive biking culture for people of all ages and abilities.

A newly published NITC study by John MacArthur of...

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Feb 20, 2017

Despite efforts to get more people biking, North America still has low ridership numbers.

The problem? Biking is hard.

A new NITC report by John MacArthur of TREC offers a solution to that problem: e-bikes. 

Many people surveyed say that having to pedal up hills and arriving at their destination sweaty are major deterrents to commuting by bike, even when bike lanes and other facilities are there.

Researchers have put a lot of thought into ways to get more people riding bicycles by improving bicycle infrastructure, land use and public engagement. The efforts are largely due to concerns about congestion, climate change and public health.

Comparatively little research, however, has focused on the bicycle itself.

MacArthur and co-investigator Jennifer Dill teamed up with Drive Oregon, Metro and Kaiser Permanente Northwest to provide Kaiser employees with electric-assist bicycles (e-bikes) to use for a trial period of ten weeks. The goal was to see if e-bikes might help overcome some commonly cited barriers to cycling.

The study, Evaluation of Electric Bike Use at Three Kaiser Permanente NW Employment Centers in Portland Metro Region, took place in Portland, Oregon from April 2014 to September 2015. A total of 150 Kaiser employees participated in the study. Fewer than 10 percent of them...

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