Summary, in English
The fast-growing market of electric bikes (e-bikes) has introduced a paradigm shift in mobility with a promise to enhance the sustainability agenda. An in-depth understanding of transport quality of service (QOS) from the e-bike rider’s perspective is a promising approach to sustain the role of the e-bike in mobility. Level of service (LOS) is a method by which to quantify QOS for different transport modes. However, to date, the knowledge on e-bike LOS (ELOS) lags far behind that on other transport modes. Therefore, the central aim of this thesis is to provide fundamental knowledge related to the development of ELOS. To address the main aim of the thesis, the travel behaviour and riding characteristics associated with e-bikes were scrutinised. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were employed to provide knowledge on the travel behaviour (strategical level) and riding characteristics (tactical level) related to e-bikes. From a strategic perspective, an extensive review of the literature was conducted to explore which transport mode LOS is applicable for developing ELOS. Based on the findings from the state of the art and the reviewed literature, bike LOS (BLOS) was deemed substantial for the development of ELOS. Thus, to move towards the development of ELOS, a set of studies was conducted to understand the comfort concerns of e-bike riders via the literature review, interviews and a field experiment. Based on the reviewed literature, it appears evident that research related to the travel behaviour of e-bike users is sparse and that the scale of e-bike substitution for other modes of transport is unclear. The findings of the aforementioned study led to the proposition of a preliminary theoretical framework for the development of ELOS and served as a roadmap for conducting the studies that followed. To provide a deeper understanding of the travel behaviour related to e-bikes, a qualitative study was conducted to explore e-bike users’ (riders) and nonusers’ comfort concerns. This study was extended to include the comfort and health concerns of e-bike users and nonusers in the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic situation. The findings of this study provided a set of e-bike riding comfort variables, such as infrastructure facilities and e-bike performance in both pre- and peri-pandemic situations. This study also documented the potential effect of e-bike substitution for other transport modes such as public transport and cars. From a tactical level of analysis, there was a lack of studies to facilitate understanding the riding characteristics associated with e-bikes, specifically where vulnerable road users are involved. To address this knowledge gap, the interaction between e-bike users and pedestrians was studied in an off-road facility experiment. The study was designed to evaluate whether the traffic characteristics of passing (same-direction) and meeting (opposite-direction) encounters impose different difficulties for the navigation of the e-bike rider in pedestrian crowds. The results suggested that passing events cause the e-bike rider more hindrance compared to meeting events. This study was further extended to investigate the sociodemographic characteristics of e-bike riders along with their characteristics of riding in traffic and eventually model e-bike riders’ comfort in pedestrian crowds. In sum, this thesis addresses the knowledge gaps related to e-bike comfort concerns based on different study setups, which can be used substantially for developing ELOS. Along with exploring e-bike riders’ comfort concerns, the thesis puts forward information related to e-bike nonusers in both pre- and peri-pandemic situations. The findings of the thesis are applicable for planners and policy-makers when integrating the role of e-bikes in mobility policies. At a general level, the findings of the studies presented in this thesis pave the way for developing future ELOS and highlight the dire need to develop the concept of ELOS based on different contexts. All in all, the thesis opens new avenues into the field of e-bike comfort modelling by rendering the importance of the subject as an independent mode of transport.