What if we can harness the emerging role of e-bikes to address key mobility gaps within our transportation network? In WSP’s latest white paper, discover how e-bikes and other forms of micromobility, such as e-scooters can help address the “missing middle” of transportation.
When it comes to transportation, our current travel behaviours are fundamentally shifting. Available means of travel are quickly changing and the increasing focus on sustainability and health is influencing preferred travel modes. The conversation surrounding sustainable transportation has mainly centered around biking, walking, and public transit in the past. These are certainly all valuable alternatives to vehicular travel— yet they leave something of a mobility gap, especially for many commuters in urban settings.
Cycling and walking is perceived by many people to be problematic because of time constraints, distance to get to and from where they want to go or because of a lack of suitable cycling and pedestrian infrastructure or showers and changes rooms at destinations. Public transit can create its own challenges, such as scheduling, limited routes, service delays and potential overcrowding on busy routes. As transportation needs continue to shift and sustainability becomes an ever-more pressing concern, transportation professionals are searching for ways to address the missing middle of transportation.
Micromobility is rapidly emerging as a potential solution that can seamlessly address some, if not all, of our shifting mobility needs and close the gaps in transportation, which limit the inclusivity and sustainability of travel. In this context, by micromobility we mean personal human and electric-powered vehicles like e-bikes and kick style e-scooters: affordable and practical ways to sustainably travel moderate distances for many. When we think towards future readiness, we see the potential for e-bikes and other forms of micromobility— both individually and as a first mile / last mile solution that supports other transportation modes such as transit and shared mobility systems.
As the interest and opportunity continues to emerge, incorporating micromobility into our transportation network is inevitable; despite the lack of clarity surrounding what their role will look like. Safety, implementation, regulation, operational practices and accessibility are growing concerns as the mircomobility market continues to gain popularity.
A new WSP whitepaper aims to better explain how municipalities can be future-ready, to maximize the potential of e-bikes and other forms of micromobility in supporting sustainable and inclusive travel choices. The paper combines a best-practices literature and legislative review with innovative thought-leadership and original research with key municipal stakeholders and then offers some next step actions.
Key questions of the white paper
In the whitepaper, we frame seven key questions to guide the discussion:
- What are e-bikes & how do we define them?
- What is the existing role of e-bikes and how could this change?
- How does legislation impact e-bike integration?
- What lessons can be learned from current e-bike regulation?
- How do practitioners perceive micromobility?
- How can micromobility address the missing middle of transportation?
- What are the best tools for integrating micromobility and e-bikes in the Canadian Context?
Original research, insights
Given the current landscape of legislation and perceptions surrounding micromobility in Canada, WSP engaged with stakeholders and municipal representatives to complete original research to understand how this landscape is impacting key decision makers and advocates in Ontario. The comprehensive survey contained over 50 questions regarding sustainable mobility, new mobility, e-bikes, e-scooters and existing e-bike and e-scooter legislation.
The onset of e-bikes and micromobility is already occurring, and quickly changing our perceptions of mobility. We as transportation professionals and decision makers have the opportunity now to clarify and guide the roll out of micromobility in Canada.
What if we can?
We believe that we can maximize the opportunity for e-bikes and kick-style e-scooters to promote sustainable commuting, shared mobility, support multi-modal integration, and improve equity in expanding transportation choices. However, this cannot be done without a few crucial changes to how micromobility is currently being introduced. Read more to explore how e-bikes and e-scooters can play an important role in expanding travel choices in our transportation network.