E-bikes? Congratulations to Paul Plazier, TGRG postgraduate prize winner

TGRG would like to congratulate Paul Plazier from the University of Groningen for being awarded first prize in the Transport Geography Research Group postgraduate paper prize for his presentation, The potential of electrically assisted cycling in the everyday commute – a mixed methods approach. The prize is sponsored by Emerald.

The Postgraduate Paper Prize is awarded to the best conference paper presented in a TGRG-sponsored session at the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) Annual Conference.

Paul’s presentation slides and paper abstract are below.

The potential of electrically assisted cycling in the everyday commute – a mixed methods approach
Paul Plazier (University of Groningen, The Netherlands)
Gerd Weitkamp (University of Groningen, The Netherlands)
Agnes van den Berg (University of Groningen, The Netherlands)
E-bike use in the Netherlands is growing fast. When substituting motorized travel, it can play an important role in developing sustainable transport systems. This study assessed travel behavior of e-bike commuters, their motives for e-bike adoption and daily use, and
experiences on the road. We GPS-tracked outdoor movements of 24 e-bike users in the
north of Netherlands for two weeks and used their mapped travel behavior as input for
follow-up in-depth interviews. The majority of the commutes was done by e-bike, altered
with car use. E-bike use was highest in work-related, single-destination journeys. It gave
participants the benefits of conventional cycling over motorized transport (physical, outdoor activity) while mitigating relative disadvantages (longer travel time, increased effort). E-bike commutes took longer compared to other modes, but this was deliberately traded for the experience of cycling. In route choice, participants were inclined to choose enjoyable itineraries over shorter or faster routes. Results support that e-bikes can substitute motorized commuting modes on distances too long to cover by bike, and stress the importance of subjective experience in e-bike commuting. This provides impetus for future actions to encourage commuting by e-bike.

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