Pedelecs As a Contribution for a More Sustainable Transport System? Acceptance, Usage and Impacts of Electrically Supported Bicycles from the Employer's Perspective
T Prill, M Lanzendorf, Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main, DE
In the project "Model Region for Electric Mobility Rhine-Main" we analyzed electric bike projects installed by different companies and public authorities.
When discussions about the improvement of the transport system take place nowadays, one top issue is electric mobility. The proponents of electric mobility promise economic well-being, the reduction of oil dependency, a better protection of the climate and the environment and an improved quality of life in urban areas. But to a great extent the current discussion is focused on electric cars. The idea seems to be to simply substitute the propelling system based on the internal combustion engine for an electric one, an attempt, which is too short-sighted for many critiques.
But there is yet another electric individual mode of transport, namely pedelecs or e-bikes. These vehicles appear to be more suitable for a larger audience, since sales figures are high, the price is more affordable and their technical performance is said to be convincing even in this stage of development. Resource and energy input are comparably low and so are the emissions produced by pedelecs. The space consumption is comparable to conventional bicycles and much less then electric cars would cause.
In the project "Model Region for Electric Mobility Rhine-Main" we analyzed electric bike projects installed by different companies and public authorities. Thus, we focused on commuting and other business related trips that take a share of 20% of all trips in Germany.
The objective of this paper is to ask about the experiences of companies with the use of pedelecs either as part of their company's vehicle fleet or as part of the employee's daily commuting. With the paper we ask (1) about the acceptance and constraints of pedelecs' usage and assess (2) if there is the potential for a modal shift related to pedelecs.
The research has a mainly qualitative design, including expert interviews as well as focus groups and in-depth interviews with pedelec users. In this paper we present the findings of the expert interviews. The interviews were conducted with the persons responsible for the respective company's pedelec project. The interviews were recorded, transcribed and have undergone a qualitative content analysis. Additionally, we will use quantitative data from other project partners to back up the qualitative findings.
The paper confirms pedelecs as a rather suitable mode of transport, especially for business related trips as well as for the companies themselves, although further measures to effectively support this development are necessary. We provide these measures and we reveal the potential of pedelecs to substitute car use for pedelec use. Finally, the paper argues that the pedelec projects are far from reaching their full potential regarding the opportunities they could have offered towards a more sustainable mobility system. An idea of this fuller potential is provided in the paper.
Association for European Transport