Date of Award

2022

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Gregory Rowangould

Abstract

As e-bikes become more popular, understanding how e-bikes may affect bicyclist travel behavior and infrastructure preferences can provide useful information to policymakers and bicycle facility designers to address inadequate bicycle facilities and potential safety concerns. We evaluate survey responses about infrastructure preferences of e-bike and conventional bicycle users, including their safety concerns in Chittenden County, Vermont. Generally, we find that conventional bicyclists and e-bike users have similar infrastructure preferences. The study finds that e-bike users tend to travel more frequently than conventional bicyclists, especially for utilitarian purposes. However, e-bike users may be more willing to use roadways with fewer bicycle facilities or higher-speed traffic. Safety perceptions of bicycling are slightly higher among e-bike users than conventional bicyclists.Furthermore, we use a discrete choice model to analyze bicycle facility preferences from the stated preference responses. Bicyclists prefer buffered bicycle lanes over multi-use paths and bicycle lanes over facility-less roadways. However, the likelihood that a conventional bicyclist will opt for a bicycle facility over a facility-less roadway is higher than an e-bike user for the three types of bicycle facilities considered. Likewise, the perceived speed of vehicles traveling adjacent to the cycling route is also critical in route choice. Conventional bicyclists appear to have a stronger preference for traveling adjacent to vehicles where the posted speed limit is lower than e-bike users. This may indicate that e-bikes induce confidence in the rider, stemming from a lower speed differential when traveling adjacent to motor vehicles. E-bikes are rapidly increasing in popularity, and while the needs of e-bike users are important, the needs of every bicyclist need to be considered and accommodated when designing policies and bicycle facilities. Policies to allocate a greater portion of the traveled way to bicycle facilities to allow for buffered or protected bicycle lanes may increase safety perceptions among bicyclists and improve the bicycling mode share in municipalities. Additionally, this study only begins to explore the safety concerns associated with e-bikes. Future research should further explore conventional bicyclists' safety perceptions of e-bikes as they continue to be more prominent on the road.

Language

en

Number of Pages

61 p.

Available for download on Saturday, April 29, 2023

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