Led by Xiaoyue Cathy Liu of the University of Utah (UU) and funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities, researchers have created a web-based modeling tool (see GitHub repository built for the Utah Transit Authority) that enables U.S. transit providers to explore the impacts of changing over their systems to electric buses*. The researchers ran the model for TriMet in Portland, OR as well, with TriMet results and analysis presented in the final report (PDF).

"The interactive visualization platform lets users explore various electric bus deployment budget scenarios, so that transit agencies can plan the most cost-effective way to transition their fleet from diesel to electric buses – while prioritizing disadvantaged populations," Liu said.

The research team, at University of Utah, Portland State University (PSU), and University of California, Riverside, set out to answer three questions: 

  1. What costs and benefits are associated...
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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...

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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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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...

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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

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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E-bikes

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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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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Principal Investigator: John MacArthur, Portland State University
Learn more about this research by viewing the Project Overview page.

This article was authored by Cristina Rojas of Portland State University's Institute for Sustainable Solutions on December 1, 2018 and cross-posted from Portland State University news.

A new report from Portland State University's Institute for Sustainable Solutions suggests that the most effective policies to support the growth of electric vehicles in the City of Portland would be those that target low-income drivers. The report is part of a collaborative project between Portland State University and the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability to further goals in the Portland Climate Action Plan.

THE RESEARCH TEAM

The collaborative research team included Ingrid Fish from the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability; John MacArthur and Kelly Clifton, who are both...

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Electric Car Charging
Principal Investigator: John MacArthur, Portland State University
Learn more about this research by viewing the Executive Summary and the full Final Report on the Project Overview page.

The market for electric vehicles (EVs) is changing dramatically in the United States, and zero-emissions vehicles could replace internal combustion engine automobiles in the near future. Oregon has one of the highest per-capita EV sales markets in the country, and has declared an ambitious goal of complete electrification of the private automobile industry by 2050. This makes Oregon a prime testing ground for the climate-friendly vehicles.

A new study conducted by John MacArthur, a researcher at the Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) at Portland State University, analyzed survey responses from 4,069 EV owners in Oregon to identify the biggest challenges and opportunities for the emerging industry. Some key findings:

  • EV owners demonstrated a high level of satisfaction with their vehicles;...
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