Urban Transport Group powers up project into benefits of e-bikes for cities

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

A new project to examine the wide-ranging potential benefits e-bikes can bring to city regions and the options transport authorities have to harness such opportunities has been commissioned by the Urban Transport Group. 

E-bikes could revolutionise last-mile deliveries and widen access to cycling in urban areas, whilst also contributing to broader policy goals of cities, such as improved health, better air quality, job creation and reduced congestion. Despite these benefits, take-up of e-bikes remains low in the UK (just 3% of bikes sold) compared to European countries (10-20% of sales in Italy, France, Sweden and Germany and around 30% in the Netherlands, Belgium and Austria).

The Urban Transport Group has commissioned transport consultants Steer to produce a report which explores the potential market for e-bikes in city regions; the full range of economic, environmental, health and social benefits they can bring; as well as case studies from cities around the world that have seen usage increase. The report will ultimately help support urban transport authorities to understand the potential of e-bikes and to consider the issues and options around increasing take-up in a way that maximises this potential and minimises any negative impacts.

Ben Still, Managing Director of West Yorkshire Combined Authority and lead Board member for active travel at the Urban Transport Group, said:

“We are witnessing a rise in e-bikes around the world and they look set to play an increasingly important role in how people and freight move around cities efficiently and sustainably. Yet, compared to our European neighbours, the share of e-bikes in the UK remains low. 

“This project will examine the untapped potential for greater use of e-bikes in our urban areas and the many benefits they could bring, from widening access to opportunities to supporting green tourism. The key question will be how transport authorities can help to boost take-up, whilst being mindful of any potential issues that could arise from this. As an avid cyclist myself, I am looking forward to the findings of the report.”

The report is set to be published later in 2021.