Principal Consultant, Tolu Ogunbekun, spoke on the “E-Bike Share: What we’re learning, what we know” panel at the North American Bikeshare Association (NABSA) and Better Bike Share Partnership 2018 Conference in early September in Portland. She was joined by fellow panelists Kim Lucas, Manager Sustainable Transportation Branch, District Department of Transportation and John MacArthur, Sustainable Transportation Program Manager, Portland State University.
Tolu presented preliminary results from Steer’s study on a small-scale pilot implementation of e-bikes in a shared environment in the U.K. Key takeaways of the study included:
- Ebike share appeals to people across age ranges (26% of users aged 55+).
- Ebikes normalize bike share between men and women (large shift of 75% male ridership from regular bike share to 55% for e-bike share).
- More than 50% of ebike share trips are for work/business-related purposes. E-bikes are also used for non-business/leisure trips and cycling for fun/exercise.
- Ebikes are encouraging VMT reduction and car replacement. The biggest mode shift to e-bikes are from car ~46% (and about 20% are from transit).
- More than 50% of ebike trips are under 4 miles, and the average e-bike trip length was 5.2 miles compared to 3 miles for regular bike share.
- Overall, users reported that ebikes allowed them to travel further and faster (than walking or regular bikes).
Read through Tolu’s full presentation slides on the shared e-bike program here. The study was commissioned by CoMoUK (previously Bikeplus) and led by Steer Principal Consultant, Ian Bewick, and Associate, Matthew Clark.
Other key themes from the NABSA conference included discussions around bikeshare and transit, profitability versus equity, incentives to rebalance bikes, and dockless bikes. There were many questions around if bikeshare is transit, and if so, should it be subsidized? Are transit agencies ready for bikeshare to potentially cannibalize transit ridership/revenue or can bikeshare provide an opportunity to relieve traffic on transit networks, especially for short distance trips during rush hour? Should bikeshare be introduced in wealthier neighborhoods, which may have higher potential profitability, or should it serve communities with less transit reach? How can bikeshare operators reduce carbon footprint while rebalancing and recharging (e)bikes (e.g. bike angels in NYC, cluster stations)? Is the future of bikeshare dockless or docked at stations? Dockless bikes have almost three times higher ridership than docked bike systems, with dockless bikes in San Francisco, New York City and Washington D.C. seeing 8-12 trips per bike per day.
Learn more about the NABSA and Better Bike Share Partnership 2018 Conference here.