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

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 importantly to local and regional U.S. governments, e-bikes could be a useful tool to address our current climate crisis by reducing transportation greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Related research: MacArthur and McQueen are also...

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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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Dec 10, 2015

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Oregon, and Portland in particular, is internationally known for its love for bikes. Not only does the region have some of the highest bike ridership in the nation but the Oregon bike manufacturing industry is quickly growing as well. Oregon’s electric bike (e-bike) market is also growing, but little data are available on the potential market and e-bike user behavior and interest.

Only a limited amount of research has explored the potential new market segments for e-bikes and the economic, operational, safety, and transportation issues surrounding e-bikes in the United States. This webinar will present findings from a research project evaluating e-bike use at three Kaiser Permanente employment centers in the Portland region.

The project's primary goal was to test user acceptance of electric-assist folding bicycles as a commuting solution.

...

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Nov 17, 2015
Nov 26, 2014

Over the last couple years, electric bicycles (e-bikes) have been gaining momentum. E-bikes may play an important role in addressing cities’ transportation and public health problems by getting more people out of cars and onto bicycles. But as the number of users increase, so too will potential conflicts (actual or perceived) with other road users, causing policy questions to arise.

The current state of e-bikes regulation varies dramatically across state and local jurisdictions, causing confusion. The confusion stems from the wide variety of devices and technologies on the market, perceived overlap of legal entities’ jurisdiction over the device, outdated or absent laws and regulations, and inconsistency of terms used to describe e-bikes. This confusion creates uncertainty for manufacturers and dealers and makes riders wary of embracing e-bikes.

One of the biggest concerns people have about e-bikes and their use, especially on shared-use paths, is speed.  Currently, the Consumer Product...

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