Promoting the use of e-bikes for commuting and business travel by WPI students (words) and University of Worcester student Phoebe West (digital media)
This student led project aims to assist Worcester City Council on their Local Government Association funded pilot e-bike share scheme.
Net Zero Innovation grant funded the City Council to collaborate with the University of Worcester on a pilot placing free e-bikes with local employers for a trial period in summer 2021. The trial is intended to give employers and employees the chance to experience the use of e-bikes for commuting and business travel.
The pre-launch research had three objectives:
~to review the current practices for cycling and bike shares in the UK using interviews.
~to understand employers’ views on a bike pool scheme using a survey.
~to understand the employees’ views of a potential bike pool scheme using focus groups.
The focus group session indicated that biking to work would have environmental and health benefits, but they were concerned about safety and time management. The participants also highlighted how the lack of enthusiasm for cycling and cyclists in general acts as a significant barrier to cycling in Worcester. However, the participants did agree that Worcester has the and potential to be cycle-friendly.
Local companies in Worcester helped elucidate potential concerns with the implementation of employers led bike-share schemes. The image below summarises the results.
The research team interviewed people on a national and local level that have experience working with bike shares. They conducted interviews with participants from cycling organisations and council members from around the UK. From these discussions, the team learned that while Worcester has some cycle paths and some infrastructure to increase cycling accessibility has been made, Worcester is generally not a cycle-friendly city. Further investments in infrastructure, as well as continued efforts in outreach, are necessary in order to grow the cycling community within the city.
The following recommendations emerged from the research:
- Woo Bikes should continue to reach out to employers that took the survey and expressed interest in the programme for future collaborations.
- Woo Bikes should continue to liaise with organisations such as BID, Chamber of Commerce, and cycling advocacy groups to reach more employers.
- The University of Worcester should create a set of marketing materials to explain the benefits of bike shares and their involvement in future campaigns.
- The University of Worcester and local organisations should identify cycling champions within the community and interested businesses to promote the use of e-bikes.
For more information about this project, please contact Katy Boom at email@example.com.