טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentCaspi Or
SubjectElectric Bike Users in Tel Aviv-Yafo: Their Characteristics
and Travel Behavior
DepartmentDepartment of Architecture and Town Planning
Supervisor Professor Pnina Plaut
Full Thesis text - in Hebrew Full thesis text - Hebrew Version


Abstract

One of the recent technological advances in mobility are electric bikes, which are powered by an electric engine to enable faster and more comfortable rides to further destinations than the traditional bicycle. Furthermore, they provide accessibility for people with various physical challenges, enabling riding in hilly environments, and allowing for independent mobility at a low cost.

Electric bikes in Israel gained popularity in the years 2010-2015, while more than 180,000 electric bikes were imported to Israel. Today Israel ranks third in sales of electric bikes per capita in Europe.

The aim of this research is to examine the characteristics of electric bike riders and usage in Tel Aviv and their spatial travel behaviour. Do electric bikes serve as a distinct mode of transportation in Tel Aviv? For what kind of trips and to what extent? And what are the factors that prevent and encourage people from choosing this mode of transportation? The research focus lays on the personal considerations of electric bike riders. The research was conducted using a survey distributed among 155 adult electric bike riders in Tel Aviv-Yafo. The questionnaire was constructed of the characteristics of the electric bike users, their choice of main mode of transportation, their travel habits, and a description of their most common riding routes. The survey’s results were analyzed with statistical tools that included descriptive statistics, crosstabs, chi-square tests, and decision tree modeling (CART). The reported routes were analyzed with GIS tools, and examined in relation to the built environment in order to understand its role in the riders’ decisions while choosing their riding route.

The results show that electric bicycles are a new and distinct mode of transportation, with a potential to serve as the main mean of mobility for most life aspects in urban areas. The electric bicycles are faster, cheaper and more comfortable than other modes of transportation, and their usage range is up to 16.5 km (with a mean of 4.5 km), which is enough to travel in most metropolitan areas in Israel.

Using electric bikes has been found to displace the use of motorized modes of transportation, thus, electric bike usage may decrease air and noise pollution in cities, and reduce traffic congestion. Many electric bike riders suffer from a shortage of bicycle riding and parking infrastructure in Tel Aviv. The absence of this infrastructure harms their sense of safety and can lead to conflict between electric bike riders, pedestrians and drivers.

This study serves as a preliminary base for understanding the electric bike phenomenon in Israel as a mode of transportation that may answer the mobility demands of city residents. The study could be a source for public and academic discussion on the possibility and the need to encourage electric bicycles as an urban transportation mode. Furthermore, this study might inform policy decision making regarding biking infrastructure and safety needs of electric bike riders and those who surround them to encourage people to choose electric bikes as a mode of transportation in the city.