Blog – Smart e-bikes research project

Smart e-bikes research project

understanding how commuters and communities engage with electrically-assisted cycling

Opening of DfT funded ‘University Campus e-bikes’, a follow-on project using smart e-bikes results

Opening of DfT funded ‘University Campus e-bikes’, a follow-on project using smart e-bikes results – Smart e-bikes research project

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 was supported by Transport Minister Andrew Jones, with Shane Snow and John Sweeetman from the Department for Transport, alongside  Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansel and Mayor Councillor Janet Coles, as well as the University of Brighton’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Debra Humphris.

“Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: “Electric bikes are a great way to encourage new people to get into cycling and I hope this interesting scheme encourages more people to take it up. Cycling helps cut congestion and is a healthy, affordable transport option.” (Press release).

Read all the other comments and watch the launch video on the university website.

Research Results Video

Research Results Video – Smart e-bikes research project

This video summarises the results and policy implications of our e-bike research in the UK. When an e-bike is made available, many people choose to use it, and it has substantial effects on their travel behavior. This is likely to result in reduced carbon emissions, lower congestion and an increase in health and wellbeing. Our study gave electrically-assisted bikes to 100 people, for 6-8 weeks each (commuters of 2 large employers+community groups). The ‘smart’ monitoring system recorded and transmitted bike usage data, used with survey+interview data. Watch the video for more results!

Bikehangar is handed over to residents

Bike hangar is handed over to residents – Smart e-bikes research project
Abby Hone, Principal Transport Planner, Brighton & Hove City Council with Frauke Behrendt, Project Leader, Smart e-bikes Research Project and Chris Sevink, Chair of the Ditchling Rise Area Residents Association

Brighton’s first Bikehangar – an on-street lock up for bicycles – has been officially handed over to residents.

The University of Brighton-led project is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Brighton and Hove City Council’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF)*.

The hangar was formally presented on Tuesday, 9th September to the Ditchling Rise Area Residents Association (DRARA) which will manage the facility.

The hangar, on the corner of Ditchling Rise and Shaftesbury Road, is part of the university’s ‘smart e-bikes’ research project which is trialling and researching electrically-assisted cycles.

The ‘smart e-bikes’ research project, led by the University of Brighton between 2011 and 2014, is funded by the EPSRC. The aim of the project is to understand how people engage with smart e-cycling and the issues for policy, design/product development and research that could lead to a higher uptake of e-bikes in the UK, with the aim of reducing carbon emissions.

One of the Smart e-bikes Project’s bikes by the Bikehangar on Shaftesbury Road

Dr Frauke Behrendt, senior lecturer and leading the project at the university, said: “This trial enabled us to understand how the combination of an e-bike and sheltered cycle storage might encourage more people to take up cycling. The Bikehangar is of particular importance to those who do not have space to park their bike in or outside their own homes.”

The new hangar has six spaces available for rent by nearby residents.

Attending the handover were: Abby Hone, Principal Transport Planner, Brighton & Hove City Council; Chris Sevink, Chair of the Ditchling Rise Area Residents Association; and Frauke Behrendt, Project Leader, Smart e-bikes Research Project, University of Brighton.

* Further information on Brighton & Hove City Council’s LSTF project can be found here.

A ‘smart e-bikes’ perspective on Collective Awareness for Sustainability and Social Innovation

A ‘smart e-bikes’ perspective on Collective Awareness for Sustainability and Social Innovation – Smart e-bikes research project

Our efforts to spread the word about the ‘Smart e-bikes’ project continue with a presentation by Frauke at the BarCamp of the CAPS conference http://caps-conference.eu/ which is the first international event on Collective Awareness Platforms for Sustainability and Social Innovation and is taking place in Brussels on 1st July 2014.

CAPS projects http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/collective-awareness-platforms-sustainability-and-social-innovation are EU-funded projects working towards “harnessing collective intelligence for taking better informed and sustainability-aware decisions”.

Smart e-bikes at ‘Urban Governance Futures: Scenarios for London’

Smart e-bikes at ‘Urban Governance Futures: Scenarios for London’ – Smart e-bikes research project

LSE Cities and the MacArthur Foundation have invited Frauke to their Foresight Seminar ‘Urban Governance Futures: Scenarios for London’ on 16 June 2014. She is particularly interested in their focus on the role of big data and real-time information in relation to the establishment of new urban governance processes and structure in cities. The seminar’s specific case study is urban transport in London and Frauke looks forward to contributing a smart e-bikes perspective.

Residents ‘have a go’ on e-bikes

Residents ‘have a go’ on e-bikes – Smart e-bikes research project

The Smart e-bikes project loaned Brighton and Hove City Council (BHCC) three electric bikes for three events in February and March 2014 as part of the Personalised Travel Planning (PTP) scheme. PTP aims to help residents think about the way they travel around Brighton and Hove and supports them in making more sustainable travel choices.

The aim of the e-bike trial sessions was to give residents the opportunity to ‘have-a-go’ on an e-bike and get feed-back on their experience which it was hoped would add value to the Smart e-bike project.

BHCC offered residents the opportunity to try one of the e-bikes for free with a qualified e-bike cycling instructor at the events. The three events were:

  • Energy Café, Hollingdean Community Centre, 15th February, 2014.
  • Bike Hub, Love Your Bike Week, Circus Street, 19th February, 2014
  • Positive Energy, Hanover Community Centre, March 15th, 2014

18 residents signed up (9 at Hollingdean, 6 at Circus Street and 3 at Hanover) and had a go with each ‘lesson’ varying in length depending on the ability/confidence of the cyclist. 7 residents asked to be kept in touch with the smart e-bikes trial.

The participants were asked for feed-back on their experience and the following is a summary:

On a positive note:

  • All said they had enjoyed the experience.
  • Many said that it was great fun
  • Great for cycling up-hill
  • Electric mode provided more power than expected
  • Good that you still have to do some pedalling
  • Made cycling easier

Not so positive:

  • Bikes felt heavy to lift (although not to cycle)
  • Expensive to purchase
  • Felt big
  • Charging battery often

And a few quotes from residents:

  • ‘helpful to my partner who has arthritis’
  • ‘easy’
  • ‘comfortable’
  • ‘better option than buying a car’
  • ‘like riding a normal bike’
  • ‘bringing life again’

Steve Kelly, a Transport Planner for BHCC who organised the events, wrote the following short report on the e-bike sessions.

“I cycled the e-bikes a few time a week, for 5 weeks, mainly between Hollingdean and Hove and attended the three events. During this time I cycled on the flat and on many hills, in sunshine and pouring rain. I also looked after the e-bikes between the events, doing simple safety checks and making sure the batteries were charged.

I really enjoyed riding the e-bikes and found them especially good when in electric mode against the wind on the sea-front. They were also great when having to ‘get away’ at busy junctions which were up-hill; cycling up any hill could also be made much easier. They were also great fun.

On the down-side, I’d agree with the comments about feeling big and heavy, but I guess as technology develops they will become lighter. I also felt uncomfortable about leaving them locked up anywhere other than in the agreed locked storage (so didn’t), but if I owned one myself this would be less of an issue.

My ‘stand – out moment’ from the three trials was watching the resident who wasn’t able to cycle any more (due to health reasons) but was able to have a go on the e-bike.

I think there is potential ‘out there’ for e-bikes to help people be active in the fresh air.”

Archieve