Research Team: Dillon Fitch (lead), Hossain Mohiuddin, and Susan Handy
UC Campus(es): UC Davis
Problem Statement: Cities throughout the world have implemented bike share systems as a strategy for expanding mobility options, increasing physical activity, and improving the sustainability of the urban transportation system. These systems have attracted substantial ridership, even in the U.S., but the impact on overall levels of bicycling and other modes of travel have not been well documented, and evidence for in-equitable systems is widespread. In addition, two recent technological advancements in shared mobility—electric assisted bikes and scooters, and dock-less parking—may help improve equity and expand the user base of traditional bike share systems. However, like bike share programs in general, little is known about dock-less and e-bike share’s influence on individual travel behavior.
Project Description: The aim of this study was to examine how shared electric bikes (e-bikes) and e-scooters influence individual travel attitudes and behavior, and related outcomes of physical activity and transportation equity. The study involved a survey in the greater Sacramento area of 1959 households before (Spring 2016) and 988 after (Spring 2019) the Summer 2018 implementation of the e-bike and e-scooterservice operated by Jump, Inc., as well as a direct survey of 703 e-bike users (in Fall 2018 & Spring 2019). Among household respondents, 3–13% reported having used the service. Of e-bike share trips, 35% substituted for car travel, 30% substituted for walking, and 5% were used to connect to transit. Before- and after-household surveys indicated a slight decrease in self-reported (not objectively measured) median vehicle miles traveled and slight positive shifts in attitudes towards bicycling. Service implementation was associated with minimal changes in health in terms of physical activity and numbers of collisions. The percentages of users by self-reported student status, race, and income suggest a fairly equitable service distribution by these parameters, but each survey under-represents racial minorities and people with low incomes. Therefore, the study is inconclusive about how this service impacts those most in need. Furthermore, aggregated socio-demographics of areas where trips started or ended did not correlate with, and therefore are not reliable indicators of, the socio-demographics of e-bike-share users. Thus, targeted surveying of racial minorities and people with low-incomes is needed to understand bike-share equity.
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