Mobility by E-Bike: PSU Launching a New Study funded by the National Science Foundation and Bosch E-Bike Systems
Author: Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC)
Posted: December 18, 2019

This research is being conducted through the Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) at Portland State University.

A new research project led by John MacArthur of Portland State University, Chris Cherry of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and the Light Electric Vehicle Education and Research (LEVER) Initiative is launching in December 2019. PSU graduate student Michael McQueen of Civil & Environmental Engineering is also a researcher on the project. The study will examine the sustainability effects of e-bikes and travel behavior of e-bike users, including origin, destination, route, time, and speed.

Electric bikes (e-bikes) are a new mode of transportation that could substantially improve efficiency in the transportation system if adopted as substitutes for cars.  Researchers at University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Portland State University, University of Pittsburgh, and Bosch E-Bike Systems have received funding from the National Science Foundation to measure real-world travel behavior and assess the sustainability impacts of those choices. We are developing a platform that is easily deployed, non-invasive, and leverages computing resources enabled by e-bike technology and smartphone sensor capabilities.

Current practices of tracking e-bike data rely on memory recall and self-reporting from the user. Our approach will instead leverage smartphones to conduct ad-hoc travel surveys to supplement passive data collection and, using machine learning algorithms, create the largest and richest dataset to support the growth of e-bike use as a transportation option.

To gain information about how e-bikes are used for utilitarian transportation, we are looking for e-bike users to share their trips with us - just plug in a dongle, download our app, and ride like you normally do.

The Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) at Portland State University is home to the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), the Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation (IBPI), and other transportation programs. TREC produces research and tools for transportation decision makers, develops K-12 curriculum to expand the diversity and capacity of the workforce, and engages students and professionals through education.