The aim of this project was 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, and thereby potentially reduce carbon emissions.
This project was positioned at the intersection of more traditional cycling research, mobile media studies and user-centred design, and aimed to understand electric cycling as a unique mode of transport, with distinctive potential and challenges in the UK context.
Working with two major employers a series of surveys were undertaken and 80 participants were loaned an e-bike for six to eight weeks after which they completed final surveys and took part in interviews and group discussions. Community groups with older participants and those not necessarily commuting also trialled the bikes, in all over 100 participants, most of which did not previously cycle (regularly). Specific e-cycle training was developed.
A ‘smart’ monitoring system was developed (implemented on 30 e-bikes) that autonomously recorded and transmitted the bikes position, route and level of assistance (open source, open hardware) in real time, feeding an online interface for both research analysis and participant review, turning singular e-bikes into a networked fleet.