The potential for e-biking among the younger population: a study of Dutch students

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This study assessed the benefits and limitations of e-bike use for students participating in a pilot in a university town in the Netherlands. It targets a gap in the literature regarding e-bike use in early adulthood. Thirty-seven pilot participants completed a survey on their e-bike experiences, and follow-up in-depth interviews were held with eight participants. Results suggest there is a considerable potential for e-bike use among students. Participants valued e-bike speed, ease of use, the enjoyable experience of assisted cycling and independency from public transport schedules. Main impediments were the high costs of e-bikes, which have to compete with low-cost regular bikes and free public transportation. The study was based on a small, non-representative sample. Self-selection of participants and self-report of travel behaviors may have affected the internal and external validity of the results. Yet, the study offers first insights in the potential for e-bike use among younger populations. The positive attitudes of students suggest increased acceptance of e-bikes for everyday use, and likelihood of use in later life. Insights may guide future development of sustainable transport systems in university environments specifically and society in general. Results reveal a high potential for e-bikes to substitute public transportation use, but the high purchasing price makes it difficult for the e-bike to compete with other transport modes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37–45
Number of pages9
JournalTravel Behaviour and Society
Publication statusPublished - 15-May-2017


  • Electrically-assisted cycling
  • University towns
  • Sustainable transport
  • Mobility behavior
  • Commuting

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