Conference Interactive Program
To view the 2013 Annual Meeting Interactive Program
TRB 91st Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)
Bicycle Planning and the Built Environment
Jan 24 2012 10:45AM- 12:30PM
Hilton, International Center
E-bikes and Transportation Policy: Insights from Early Adopters (12-4621)
Electric bikes (e-bikes) are increasingly common in China, but are relatively rare in the U.S. To further understand the potential market for and use of e-bikes in the U.S., this paper presents findings from interviews with 28 e-bike owners in the Portland, Oregon region. The interviews revealed several possible demographic markets for e-bikes that could expand the overall share of the population bicycling: women, older adults, and people with physical limitations. In addition, owners noted the ability to travel with relative ease longer distances and over hills and to arrive at a destination, such as work, less sweaty or tired than with a regular bicycle. These features may overcome some of the common barriers to bicycling. Most of the e-bike owners interviewed were using their e-bikes to substitute for travel by either human-powered bicycles or traditional motor vehicles (cars, trucks, etc.). Therefore, the e-bike should be viewed as one option to address concerns over private vehicles contributing to health problems related to inactivity and pollution and other public policy problems. Whether or not e-bikes need specific policies to increase their adoption requires further research. The potential for conflict between e-bike and regular bike riders due to speed differentials is a concern. Whether speed differentials will pose a significant problem in the future will depend not only on the extent of adoption of e-bikes but the characteristics of the riders.
Dill, Jennifer , Portland State University
Rose, Geoffrey , Monash University, Australia
Transportation Research Board. 500 Fifth St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © 2012. National Academy of Sciences. All Rights Reserved.