Masterthesis Babet Hendriks - Moving on to the Active Modes
A research on the potential of speed pedelecs becoming a major mode in commuter traffic.
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This research is drawn from the urgent need to move towards a sustainable mobility system whereby reduction of CO2 emission is attained and accessibility remains warranted. Studies on sustainable mobility have predominantly focussed on cars due to the development of hybrid and autonomous vehicle technologies. However, not all signs point out the continuing importance of automobiles since the bicycle is still gaining territory in the Dutch urban environment. This is among others, triggered by the advent of electrically supported bicycles which expands the scope of active modes. First of all, there is a powered bicycle which is supporting the rider to a speed limit of 25 km/h, known as the e-bike. Secondly, there is a powered assisted bicycle known as the speed pedelec, which may attain 45 km/h.
Due to the provision of power assistance, the speed pedelec has a great potential in expanding the role of the bicycle in urban transport, specifically commuter traffic. It is calculated that the ebike’s operational distance is 1.5 times larger than a conventional bicycle. In a country with a strongly embedded cycling culture and infrastructure, the emerging challenge is to extend cycling beyond short-term intra-city trips. Besides enabling opportunities to develop a sustainable urban environment, the arrival of the speed pedelec has created challenges. Primarily because of its theoretical speed limit of 45 km/h, people question its safety. From 1st of January this theoretical speed limit of 45 km/h has led to the regulation whereby a speed pedelec is regarded equally as a moped. This all raises questions such as if using the speed pedelec remains attractive, will user numbers keep growing and how can people be still stimulated to use the speed pedelec in order to attain a sustainable mobility system. In order to investigate this, the following research aim has been formulated: ‘The aim of this research is to contribute to the expansion of the role of speed pedelecs in commuter traffic in daily urban systems through gaining insights in behavioural intentions of riding a speed pedelec and the perceived needs to successfully ride a speed pedelec.’
This goal will be accomplished through answering the following research question: ‘How can the role of speed pedelecs in commuter traffic be expanded in daily urban systems through discovering the users’ behavioural intentions and needs to ride a speed pedelec and how can this knowledge be used in formulating strategies?’