Evaluation of E-Bike Use in Portland Metro

Oregon, and Portland in particular, is internationally known for its love for bikes. Not only does the region have some of the highest bike ridership but the Oregon bike manufacturing industry is quickly growing. Oregon’s e-bike market is also growing but few data are available on the potential market and e-bike user behavior and interest. Only a limited amount of research has explored the potential new market segments for e-bikes and the economic, operational, safety, and transportation issues surrounding e-bikes in the United States.

In 2012, John MacArthur and Jennifer Dill undertook an e-bike evaluation project to gain greater understanding of how e-bikes can be integrated into a sustainable transportation system. The applied research study teams Portland State University researchers with Oregon-based e-bike manufacturer, Conscious Commuter, to evaluate e-bikes in the Portland metro region.

The objectives are two-fold: 

  1. To understand people’s perceptions and attitudes of e-bikes; and
  2. To evaluate the use of e-bikes by study participants in Portland metro region and determine if these bikes could encourage new bike users.

Thirty e-bikes will be equipped with a GPS device to collect usage data. Data will be gathered from at least 100 participants, each of which will have use of an e-bike for one month period. Participant use and behavior data will be collected before, during, and after use of the bikes. This e-bike evaluation study can provide valuable insight into the potential market, user characteristics and barriers to adoption.

The research team is currently looking for participants in the study.