Tag Archive: research

  1. Europe’s transport volumes and its CO2 emissions see a rise over 5% in 19 years

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    Source: European Environment Agency

    Recent analysis by the European Environment Agency (EEA) has reported an increase in greenhouse gas emissions from passenger cars and heavy goods vehicles in line with the growth in transport volumes on Europe’s roads over the past two decades.

    The EEA assessment ‘Decarbonising road transport — the role of vehicles, fuels and transport demand’ is part of the  ‘Transport and environment reporting mechanism’ (TERM) series of annual assessments and focuses on greenhouse gases. According to EEA data, between 2000 and 2019, CO2 emissions from passenger cars in the 27 EU Member States increased by 5.8 %, while emissions from heavy goods vehicles increased by 5.5 %. This was due to growing transport volumes and despite advances in fuel efficiency and an increase in biofuel usage.

    Passenger mobility and haulier preferences are yet to change in Europe. Both transport types have maintained and increased their volumes on the road systems, and the efficiency of vehicles’ CO2 emissions, and shifts to greener transport modes, need addressing.

    Electric vehicles are set to play an important role in improving our air quality. Increasing the volume of these engine types will help to decarbonize passenger and freight logistics, although the EEA assessment reports that efficiency-gains are not the simple solution to the greenhouse gas problems. Ride-sharing, fuller cargo loads and encouraging the use of public transport, cycling and walking are also required to decarbonise Europe’s mobility system.

    To support the overall climate neutrality target, the EU goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport by 90% by 2050, compared with 1990 levels.

  2. A study into the use of e-bikes shows an increase in regular activity.  

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    Source: Journal of Transport and Health

    Previous studies have shown that e-bike owners cycle more and drive less than they would without access to an e-bike. Support schemes for e-bikes exist in a number of countries, but knowledge about the effect of subsidies on active transport is limited. A new study into an Oslo-based e-bike subvention scheme reports on the uptake and use and the accompanying benefits.

    To boost the uptake of e-bikes, Oslo City Council introduced a subvention program (€500) for e-bike purchasers in 2016. Applicants disclosed a travel diary, answered a web survey on usage, and downloaded an app to support their activities. The survey results from the trial group were compared with two control groups; an outside sample of individuals and subvention receivers who had not yet purchased the e-bike. Compared to the control groups, the trial group increased cycling activities by 17–22% after subsidized e-bike purchase and a range of 11.6–19.3 km. The subvention led to more cycling activity and it concluded that financial incentives may contribute to a boost in active transport, even when the subvention is of a simplistic kind that does not target specific population segments.

    E-bikes have increased in popularity worldwide during the last few decades and represent the fastest-growing segment of the transport system (MacArthur et al., 2014). One aspect of e-bikes that is attracting more and more research interest is their effect on mobility patterns (Peterman et al., 2016). The e-bike has notable results regarding the impact on daily transport modes compared to regular cycling and walking. Distances are increased and even those only considered to be accessible by active transport are considered; traditional cycling barriers are reduced (de Geus and Hendriksen, 2015).  The e-bike may also reach population segments that are not prone to regular cycling or walking and particularly important for countries with current low bicycle use. However, the most rapid uptake has occurred in countries with high existing bicycling shares.

    A scoping review by Bourne et al. (2020) highlighted that the impact of the e-bike on travel behavior is largely influenced by the primary mode of travel prior to the introduction of the e-bike, largely a shift from traditional bicycles or cars. Physical activity has obvious health benefits and due to the electrical motor assistance, barriers such as long distances and hills become easier to overcome (de Geus and Hendriksen, 2015), and hence facilitate more physical activity in everyday life (Oja et al., 2011). The potential downside of the motor assistance is that it requires less self-generated power (i.e. energy expenditure) for a given time and distance, compared to a non-assisted bicycle. However, the e-bike is found to require physical activity of at least moderate intensity (Bourne et al., 2018)

    To boost e-bike sales, various forms of support schemes or incentives have been introduced, driven by a concern for the environment and for public health. Learning about the mode-share effects and changes in the overall cycling of such schemes is of particular interest, as it is an open question whether the motivation to use the e-bike after purchase is the same among subvention receivers as among “normal” e-bike purchasers. This recent study assesses the effect of subsidizing the purchase of e-bikes on users’ daily mobility patterns, and overall bicycle usage. Bicycle usage was measured by two items; how far (in kilometers) were ridden and whether the use was for transport or exercise. The trial group was also asked if (and when) they had bought the e-bike and first put it to use. To match the control group to the trial group they were also posed the question: “If you were to buy a bike today, would you consider an electric bike?” Possible answers were: “Yes, absolutely”; “Yes, maybe”; “I don’t think so”; “Don’t know” and “No, certainly not”.

    The app data was collected over a period of two months and the total number of trips recorded was 219,105. The largest difference in car use was between prospective buyers and those who had purchased an e-bike, and some of the higher cycling mode share was due to decreased use of public transport. The study was only designed to look at the relatively short-term effects of the subvention program and some participants had owned their e-bikes for five months. The data indicated that the earliest adopters cycled more than the latecomers, but this could just as well be a result of stronger motivation as of length of ownership. Typically, many people will cycle less or stop cycling completely in the winter months.

    The study concluded that financial incentives can contribute to a boost in active transport even when the subvention is simplistic and doesn’t target specific population segments. For subvention receivers participating in the study, the increase in cycling was significant so promoting e-bikes with fiscal incentives seems to work as intended in a Nordic country with relatively low cycling levels.

  3. Cities aim to reduce car use in bid to eradicate air pollution

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    Source: Sean Goulding Carroll | EURACTIV.com

    Studies have shown that those living in European cities have been subjected to premature deaths because of poor air quality. As a result, many European cities are putting measures in place to address the problems and reduce toxic emissions from vehicles to improve air quality and save lives.

    The European Environment Agency (EEA) conducted the study and estimated that 307,000 people died prematurely in 2019 due to exposure to fine particulate matter. Respiratory issues, lung cancer, heart disease and strokes were reported risks from exposure to air pollution, most notably for residents living alongside dense traffic.

    Cited by the EEA as “the biggest environmental health risk in Europe”, the health problems are put high on the agendas of local governments. Air quality standards are agreed in Brussels by national parliaments, but it is the public authorities who enforce them. Indeed, Thomas Lymes, a policy advisor with the city network, EUROCITIES, comments that “cutting air pollution is a matter of social justice for public authorities because people that are most affected by air pollution are households with low income that essentially live next to big urban roads and major transport corridors.”

    Cutting pollution

    European cities have put in place an array of directives to tackle the pollution issue. The removal of vehicles from city streets and promoting alternative means of transport are popular reactions. Cycling remains one of the main alternatives and many cities are expanding cycle networks; Paris aiming to be completely accessible by bicycle by 2026, for example. Bloomberg reported Paris’ quest to install 180 kilometres of cycle lanes, while Brussels is offering residents €900 to give up their car and instead, buy a bicycle, purchase a public transport pass, or join a car-sharing service.

    Vehicles not meeting emissions standards are being charged £12.50 per day to drive into some parts of London in order to combat the city’s pollution issue. These Ultra-low Emission Zones will be expanded across the Capital by the end of 2023 to encourage alternatives, although emissions will not be completely eradicated even with the increased use of cleaner vehicles. 

    Non-exhaust particulate matter

    Not so recognised are toxins from brakes and tyres, according to Matteo Barisione, a policy manager with the European Public Health Alliance. He also considers the uptake in larger vehicles to be problematic, commenting, “Decreasing the size and the mass of vehicles reduces harmful pollutant emissions as well as their CO2 emissions, life cycle ecological footprint, and road accident risks.” 

    Euro 7 rules

    In-keeping with Barisione’s thinking, Euro 7, a forthcoming regulation setting EU vehicle pollution standards, is to include brake particles for the first time. Auto industry lobby group ACEA have welcomed this introduction but consider that more needs to be done with introducing the measurement procedure to reach a quantifiable result. 

    “ACEA does not oppose a regulation addressing brake wear particle emissions. However, a stable and representative test is a prerequisite for determining the real level of brake wear emissions, and subsequently for deciding on any appropriate limit levels,” an ACEA spokesperson told EURACTIV.

    Car manufacturers have additionally raised concerns that changes made to braking systems may have an impact of their performance, although this has been quashed by Tallano, a French start-up that produces filters to remove brake dust. Founder Christophe Rocca-Serra told EURACTIV that, “Products like ours, which capture particles at source by suction, pose no risk to the effectiveness of brakes.”

    Of course, increasing the use of electric vehicles will dramatically improve air quality when compared to regular internal combustion engines. Anna Krajinska, emission engineer with Transport & Environment, meticulously told EURACTIV, “For the sake of people’s health it is critical that all sources of particulate pollution from all vehicles are tackled as soon as possible.”

  4. Segway Unveils New AI-Powered Scooter at Micromobility Europe

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    At the recent Micromobility Europe (MME) 2022 trade show in the Netherlands, LEVA-EU Member Segway unveiled its latest model of artificial intelligence (AI) – powered e-scooter.

    Introduced for the first time at MME 2022, the S90L is an e-scooter that combines a full spectrum of AI technologies, all enhanced and working in tandem. Superior safety and sustainability in shared vehicles are increasingly demanded by regulators and fleet operators, and manufacturers have traditionally relied on third-party solutions for features such as lane detection and parking detection. However, Segway’s S90L is setting a precedence in the industry; it’s the first time that all AI technologies – from intelligent sensors to algorithms – are designed and developed through one integrated platform, namely the Segway Pilot.

    Segway Pilot is powered by Qualcomm’s latest AI technologies and Segway’s own capabilities in computer vision and deep learning. The system autonomously senses and detects diverse elements in an urban setting, for example pavements, parking opportunities and pedestrian mass. Safeguarding privacy is simultaneously kept, by blurring facial characteristics at the time of image capture. Through visual and voice prompts, the S90L and other vehicles equipped with Segway Pilot provide real-time guidance and assistance to riders. This fundamentally improves safety. Segway Pilot monitors various parking environments for operators and encourages responsible parking behavior from riders.

    In charge of general management of AI and Robotics R&D of Segway-Ninebot is Yusen Qin, who comments, “We are proud of Segway Pilot’s capabilities in semi-autonomous driving. AI is accelerating how shared micromobility adapts to evolving urban environments and regulatory requirements, and Segway is looking forward to working with partners in delivering innovative solutions through an open platform”.

    In addition to the S90L, Segway has showcased its full roster of shared electronic vehicles in Amsterdam. This includes e-bikes and e-mopeds, each powered by unique smart features, ranging from electric wheel locks to automatic helmet detection. Many of the models are already powering shared micromobility leaders such as Lyft, Tier and Helbiz.

    Alan Zhao, General Manager of Commercial Mobility Business Division, Segway-Ninebot, comments that shared micromobility is embarking on another growth period in the post-pandemic world, “People around the globe are more conscientious than ever about the need for green transportation, and Segway is well-positioned to help the shared micromobility industry meet these new demands”.

    Despite global supply chain disruptions, Segway celebrated the production of its ten-millionth e-scooter earlier this year, a remarkable milestone. In addition, it has promoted “the Dawn of AI and Micromobility” theme at MME 2022. The company champions the idea of “AIOT” – the blending of AI and IoT (internet of things) in not only shared electric vehicles, but also its software and hardware integration as an open platforms.

    To learn more about Segway’s full lineup of products at MME 2022, visit: https://b2b.segway.com/mme-2022/

  5. Electric Vehicles are measurably reducing global oil demand; by 1.5 million barrels a day

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    Source: Axios

    Approximately 1.5 million barrels of oil were displaced each day in 2021 due to Electric Vehicle usage. This quantity is slated to grow as EV uptake and usage continue to rise.

    These new, tangible effects of EV uptake are helping to challenge the opinion that such vehicles are a niche climate technology. Over the past 6 years, the amount of oil displaced by EVs has doubled. Download the full report by BloombergNEF, here.

    A key fact from the report that will be especially interesting to LEVA-EU readers states, “Two- and three-wheeled EVs accounted for 67% of the oil demand avoided in 2021,” attributed to rapid adoption in Asia. It can be assumed that the majority of these vehicles would be classified as Light Electric Vehicles.

    Two- and three-wheeled EVs were followed by buses, which displaced 16% of total oil, and passenger vehicles, the fastest-growing segment, which displaced 13%.

  6. The Evolution of Cargo Bikes Rolls On

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    Source: The Mayor EU

    A forthcoming Rotterdam-based e-bike campaign means that it will soon be possible to borrow a cargo bike free of charge.

    A forthcoming Rotterdam-based e-bike campaign means that it will soon be possible to borrow a cargo bike free of charge. In a city where almost anything is possible by bike, the trial period will pave the way for the transportation of bulky waste, further promoting fitness and sustainability.

    The trial period will offer electric cargo bikes free of charge, in which items such as large garden waste or second-hand items can be deposited in environmental parks and certified locations. Here, the items will embark on a new journey and become useful every day goods for others in the city.

    The Municipality of Rotterdam announced the new initiative only last week in an effort to encourage residents to embrace the opportunity to increase their recycling quota and cut down on incineration. The public will be able to reach environmental parks in this favored transportation alternative by reserving a cargo bike or trailer from multiple locations and using it for part of the day to transport voluminous waste.

    The trailer is an open cart of 2 x 1.1 x 0.34 meters, and the size of the electric cargo bike is 1 x 0.5 x 0.6 meters, ideal for household waste that does not fit into underground containers or garbage bags. Examples of this waste include furniture such as sofas and cupboards, and large electronic items such as washing machines and vacuum cleaners, all of which can take on a new leaf of life by being transported to a recycling plant. In addition, trailers can also be attached to a car for ease of use.

    The trial period will remain in place until the end of October when the authorities will evaluate the usability and the usefulness of the new service. A discussion about extending the service permanently from 2023 will address the success and the uptake of the environmental campaign. At this time, only residents of Rotterdam can adopt the service, with businesses unable to apply.

  7. Eurobike Innovators’ Prize: Submissions closing soon

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    Source: Eurobike

    Eurobike’s leading trade show at Messe Frankfurt from 13th to 17th July is showcasing a new award for rethinking mobility by means of innovative projects. The Eurobike Innovators’ Prize for inventive products, services and ideas from the bicycle and mobility industry, is a soon-to-be acknowledged accolade, and the contribution from those submitted will far surpass benefits for simply the bicycle sector.

    Head of Eurobike, Stefan Reisinger, commented that Eurobike for 2022 had been “completely redesigned.” This redesigned approach now focuses on innovations from start-ups and established companies who have until 6th June to submit their project ideas via the Eurobike website. Stefan went on to say that any outstanding innovations will receive accolades for “rethinking, sustainable mobility, and product experience.”

    The new award at the leading trade show welcomes entries based on vehicles, components, and equipment, as well as services and infrastructure ideas. The Eurobike Innovators’ Prize varies slightly from the Eurobike Award because of a different selection and decision-making process, which consists of public voting, new evaluation criteria, an expert jury, and a live pitch. This multi-stage nomination and selection process includes the opinions of a top-class jury of experts and a those of the broader audience of the Eurobike public. The preselection for the final round takes place from 13th – 17th June in an online vote, in which the global audience can nominate up to 15 finalists in five categories. These finalists will have the chance to present their products and innovations at Eurobike 2022 on the 14th and 15th of July, and winners will be selected at the big prize-giving ceremony by the trade audience and the jury.

    The prize is based upon the degree of innovation and disruptive potential, the application and improvements against current innovations, and the potential to further scale up the market. The innovations will also be judged on their capability in impacting traditional and social media and contributing to a mobile future. The prize winners are expected to receive notable media attention by way of advertisements in Eurobike media, accompanying press releases, and a FOC booth at the forthcoming VELOBerlin public festival in spring 2023. One-to-one coaching from industry experts will aid those younger companies to establish themselves in the busy bicycle market.

    Further information and contact for submissions (until June 6, 2022):

    The 30th Eurobike will open its doors from Wednesday, July 13 to Sunday, July 17, 2022, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Public days: Saturday and Sunday. For more information, go to: www.eurobike.com. Tickets for the Eurobike Festival Days are available here: Tickets
    Instagram: www.instagram.com/eurobike_show
    Facebook: www.facebook.com/EUROBIKE.tradeshow

  8. African innovation and research win at Summit of transport ministers

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    Source: International Transport Forum

    A Ugandan programme to reduce emissions and a Kenya-based electric vehicle-transition project are the recent winners of the prestigious International Transport Forum Decarbonising Transport Award.

    With 64 member countries, The International Transport Forum (ITF) is an intergovernmental think tank for transport policies and is the only global body that covers all transport types. The ITF campaign aims to improve the lives of people by trend analysis and sharing knowledge to deeper understand the role of transport for economic and environmental gains. The ITF’s Annual Summit is the world’s largest gathering of transport ministers and is a platform for discussion and reform.

    The innovation category of the International Transport Forum Decarbonising Transport Award went to Wanyama Autosafety Initiatives for its campaigning to reduce air pollution from vehicle emissions. The startup initiative is made up of 400 local mechanics who navigate Ugandan’s capital city, Kampala, to improve the environmental inconsistencies from the capital’s most polluting cars. Kampala regularly exceeded the WHO safety guidelines on air pollution by a staggering six-fold, so there was an urgency with the need to improve the air quality. The Wanyama Autosafety Initiatives searched for solutions to the emissions problems and produced data-driven reports that flagged the problem to the public to gain their support. The EUR 10,000 prize will be used on quantifying equipment to further educate the city’s residents and reduce emissions, and may also be utilised in a possible electric vehicle conversion programme.

    The Wanyama Autosafety Initiative Executive Director accepted the award at the ITF Summit on “Transport for Inclusive Societies” in Leipzig, Germany on 20th May 2022, commenting that, “Our multi-faceted programme aims to address the devastating effects of air pollution in our largest city. Early results from this start-up venture clearly demonstrate that a community-based approach rooted in sound data analysis can result in better air quality and improved road safety. I hope the international recognition that comes with this prestigious award will lead to a change in policies and a cleaner, sustainable mobility future in Uganda and beyond.”

    More information on Wanyama Autosafety Initiatives can be found here.

    The research category of the ITF Decarbonising Transport Award went to the Transition To Electric Boda Boda in the Nairobi City County, Kenya project. Nairobi City County has a notable motorcycle taxi network but is often not considered for electric vehicle transitions. The research category winners will now be able to explore any policy, legal and institutional hindrances that prevent the Boda Boda motorcycle network from inclusion in transport electrification policies.

    The EUR 5,000 prize will allow the campaigners to collect data and research legality and policies in order to progress towards achieving Kenya’s sustainability goals. The study will further identify any essential steps needed to convert Boda Boda’s power from internal combustion engines into electric batteries. This will maximise Kenya’s environmental decarbonisation and adhere to the county’s wonderful renewable energy source production.

    Accepting the award, James Moronge, Senior Lecturer, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Nairobi, commented: “Boda Boda taxis have attained a significant place in catering to people’s travel needs. They contribute significantly to load factor and vehicle kilometres travelled, as well as to emissions. It is important, therefore, that they be adapted to lower-emission energy sources, including battery-powered technology. I’m delighted that the relevance of this research is recognised at the International Transport Forum’s Summit, and I hope that ITF’s global reach will help us to share the insights of our work with other countries.”

    ITF Secretary-General Young Tae Kim said: “We cannot achieve our climate goals without decarbonising transport. Emerging economies with growing demand for mobility face particular challenges. I am deeply impressed by the level of innovation and commitment to transport decarbonisation reflected in applications for ITF’s new Decarbonising Transport Award. I am delighted that the ITF can support these carbon-neutral transport solutions through funding and support for research, outreach and dissemination. I hope that the award winners will greatly benefit from the visibility of the award and that we will continue to collaborate on our shared climate goals.”

    The ITF Decarbonising Transport Award recognises projects with great potential to aid in decarbonising transport in emerging economies. 37 applications, primarily from African, Latin American and Asian countries, were assessed by an internal and external jury representing a diverse set of countries and profiles. The two winning entries were selected from a total of seven finalists.
    More information can be found here.

  9. The German cargo bike boom: 2021 market report

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    Source: cargobike.jetzt

    The nationwide German Bike Monitor 2021 survey, which occurs every two years, has highlighted shifting attitudes towards cargo bikes within the population

    The definition for a cargo bike used in the survey is as follows: “The cargo bike is a bicycle that is used to transport loads or people. Depending on the intended use, the basket/box is in the rider’s field of vision or in the rear area of ​​the bike. Depending on the design, these bikes are equipped with two or three wheels.”

    From this, participants were quizzed on various aspects of the cargo bike market. The representative survey now estimates over eight million potential cargo bike buyers in Germany alone, with double that figure showing interest in cargo bike-sharing services.

    Awareness of cargo models has risen from 38% in 2017 to 63% in 2021, clearly indicating the growing market. Additionally, 2% of the population now use a cargo bike in their lives (1.2 million individuals).

    An interesting question, newly added this year, regarded second-hand bikes. The cargo bike garnered the most interest of all bike models in this case. 35% of those interested in a cargo bike would prefer to buy pre-owned; for comparison, this figure falls to 14% when averaged between all bike types.

    The final and particularly insightful section of the data explores the arguments against interest in cargo bikes; the reasoning for such disinterest was found to cover a range of issues. At 61 percent, having your own car will remain the most important argument against buying a cargo bike in 2021, this was followed by the bikes being ‘too bulky and unwieldy’ (36%), lack of parking/storage space (29%), skepticism about effectiveness (27%), and finally, the high price tag at 24%.

    Read the full German Bicycle Monitor 2021 here.

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