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Report and study

Study: the potential of electric-assisted bicycles to reduce car use

Summary of the study report on the surveys of participants and organisations in the Vélovolt project (2021-2022)

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The Vélovolt team has released its latest study, which presents a detailed analysis of the results of surveys conducted among the participants and organisations that took part in the Vélovolt initiative in 2021-2022.

By looking at the profile of participants, their travel habits, the impact of the campaign on their behaviour and the obstacles they encountered, this report provides a comprehensive view of the motivations, changes in behaviour and prospects for adopting cycling for commuting.

In addition, it explores in depth the reactions, actions taken and challenges faced by the organisations that have joined Vélovolt, highlighting the measures encouraged or hindered by these structures to promote active transport.

🚴‍♂️⚡ A quick reminder that

Vélovolt is a trial, research and promotional campaign aimed at increasing the modal share of active transport, in particular electrically assisted bicycles (EABs), among commuters, and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions linked to utilitarian travel.

To read the full study

(french only)

  • Rapport d'analyse des sondages auprès des participants et organisations de Vélovolt (2021-2022)

    See document
  • Infographie des faits saillants

    See document

Changes in travel habits following their trial

With 93% of participants stating that the EAB trial had encouraged them to consider cycling for their home-to-work commute, the Vélovolt campaign had a significant impact on participants:

  • 42% of Vélovolt participants changed their commuting habits as a result of their trial.

  • 37% of participants reduced the use of their car for these commutes, including 3% who stopped using their car.

  • Cycling, walking and public transport increased respectively for 42%, 23% and 10% of participants who changed their commuting habits

Number of kilometres avoided by car and reduction in greenhouse gases

Our estimates indicate that the increasing integration of cycling into commuting patterns among participants has had a positive environmental impact:

  • On average, each person avoided 440 kilometres of car journeys thanks to cycling in the year following their Vélovolt experience.
  • Collectively, this avoided a total of 94,230 kilometres of car journeys.
  • These efforts led to a reduction of around 36 tonnes of greenhouse gases (GHGs).

✈️ ☁️ These 36 tonnes of GHG are equivalent to approximately 51 one-way flights between Halifax and Vancouver.

Factors that promote cycling

We have identified the most important factors that motivate people to cycle:
  • For 81% of participants, well-being and health, including physical exercise, were the most influential factor in their choice.
  • For 64% of participants, environmental awareness and the desire to reduce their environmental impact were a major factor.
  • 44% cited potential savings on transport costs as an influential factor.

Obstacles discouraging cycling

We also identified the most significant obstacles to cycling:

  • 73% consider the cost of a bicycle, as well as the expenses associated with its use, to be a significant obstacle. This barrier applies more to EABs.
  • Over a third of participants (34%) identified the difficulty of cycling in winter, including difficult weather conditions and the challenges of snow and ice.
  • For 21% of participants, the risk of theft was seen as a major obstacle.

Incentives employers can put in place

The study reveals the most popular incentives that employers should put in place to encourage the use of EAB, according to the participants:
  • 42% consider kilometre reimbursement for cycling to be a significant incentive.
  • Safe places to park their bikes were cited by almost 41% as an important incentive.
  • The availability of self-service bicycles offered by the employer is also seen as an effective means by almost 40%.
  • Other measures mentioned include providing employees with access to lockers and/or showers (26%), introducing an awareness-raising programme in favour of active travel (26%) and arranging more flexible working hours (8%).

Incentives that governments and municipalities can put in place

The report also describes the most popular incentives that governments and municipalities should introduce to encourage the use of EABs:

  • For the participating organisations, these are subsidies for the purchase of a fleet of bicycles for employees (82%), for the provision of facilities and equipment (63%), and for the payment of bicycle travel costs for employees who cycle (45%).
  • For the participants, it's subsidising the purchase of a bicycle (57%), increasing the number of cycling facilities and their connectivity with each other (53%) and improving the quality of the road surface (37%).

Cycling initiatives implemented by participating organisations following Vélovolt

The survey of participating organisations shows that:

  • The majority of organisations (73%) have taken action in favour of cycling since participating in the Velovolt programme.
  • 55% of organisations reported the installation of facilities and equipment to encourage cycling, such as secure and practical bike rooms, free recharging facilities, individual bike lockers, bike ramps and showers for cyclists.
  • 27% of organisations have opted to purchase a fleet of bicycles for their employees.
  • 18% of organisations have organised bike maintenance sessions to help their employees.

🚲 🌳 In conclusion? To try it is to love it.

Allowing people to try out a new mode of transport sparks a reflection on the way they get around, even for those whose main mode of transport is the car. Vélovolt is demonstrating that these trials can bring about a concrete, long-term change in our mobility habits.