Policy & Impact – Smart e-bikes research project

Smart e-bikes research project

understanding how commuters and communities engage with electrically-assisted cycling

Policy & Impact 

How to enable the uptake of e-bikes for intelligent, active & sustainable transport? Our research results start to create real world impact, with policy documents, e-cycle training, start-up consultancy and funded follow-on projects – all listed on this page. Other European countries have had very successful programmes to encourage e-bike take-up and use. The smart e-bike research project identified how policy activities are important to support uptake of e-bikes in the UK:

  • Finding ways to reduce the (initial) costs of using an e-bike, such as hire schemes, or purchase discounts, or increasing the cycle-to-work tax break, would all help to increase use of this mode, together with mechanisms to enable people to trial e-bikes before committing to use.
  • Integrating new modes of transport such as e-cycling with smart technologies such as the Internet of Things extends their appeal to some users and can contribute to data collection for smart cities.
  • Compared with electric cars, e-bikes may represent a more cost-effective option, with a better chance of making a major difference to travel habits, while also increasing health and wellbeing.

The following video summarises the key findings and policy implications:

E-cycle Training

We developed e-cycle training as part of the project, based on Bikeability. Encouraging more people to cycle via the promotion of electrically-assisted bikes could have multiple public and private benefits including lowering carbon emissions and improving health and wellbeing. E-cycle training can play a key role in facilitating the uptake of electric cycling by a wide range of people.

We compiled a document that is intended for cycle trainers and their organisations, local councils and policy makers. It may also be of interest to the insurance industry. The first part contains information about e-bikes and a general overview of e-cycle training from our experience in Brighton. It is accompanied by an appendix which gives a detailed explanation of the cycle training activities that have been carried out.


Policy Evidence Submitted to the Government

Behrendt F, Cairns S, Raffo D (2014) Electrically-assisted bikes. Response to the Call for evidence on Government measures to support uptake of ultra low emission vehicles from 2015-2020.

Behrendt F, Cairns S, Raffo D (2014) Electrically-assisted Bicycles. Response to Consultation on the Government’s draft Cycling Delivery Plan

Project Results in Policy Documents

Evidence from the ‘Smart e-bike’ research project is presented in the NIHR Horizon Scanning Research and Intelligence Centre’s review on mHealth interventions that promote behavioural change (p42, 82), http://www.hsric.nihr.ac.uk/topics/review-new-and-emerging-mobile-health-interventions-that-promote-behavioural-change/

E-Bike Parking

In collaboration with the Brighton and Hove City Council and the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF), the smart e-bike project installed two secure and sheltered bike parking facilities in Brighton, one off-the-shelf hangar for six bikes and one custom-made shelter for 20 bikes. Both bike storage facilities are managed by a local resident association. This enabled the project to understand how the combination of an e-bike and sheltered cycle storage might encourage more people to take up cycling. Bike storage is of particular importance to those who do not have space to park their bike in or outside their own homes.

Innovation Consultancy

Project findings informed a funded consultancy (Green Growth Innovation Voucher/Knowledge Transfer) for a start-up e-bike shop in Brighton.

Start-up Support

Start-up e-bike delivery business Re-charge Cargo worked with project findings for business and technology support, facilitated by the Green Growth Platform.

DfT funded ‘University Campus e-bikes’

Project lead Dr Frauke Behrendt successfully applied with Dr Anne Mandy for Department for Transport/Carplus funding (£35,464) for the ‘University Campus e-bikes’ project in Eastbourne. This project is an example for the impact of the ‘smart e-bike’ research findings. The opening event was supported by Transport Minister Andrew Jones and many others, see newspaper article and video.