Drive Oregon wants e-bikes to help riders on that dreaded last mile
By Andy Giegerich
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
Drive Oregon's Jeff Allen wants to determine whether e-bikes can help commuters better utilize public transportation modes.
Drive Oregon has landed a grant that could help illustrate the electric vehicle advocate’s eclectic mission.
The public-private partnership that hopes to fortify Oregon’s electric vehicle industry collected nearly $150,000 for a study into how e-bikes can provide what Drive Oregon’s Jeff Allen called “a first/last mile commuting solution” for Kaiser Permanente employees. Drive Oregon landed the money for the partnership with Kaiser and the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium at Portland State University.
Through the program, Drive Oregon will acquire, deploy and study how 180 Kaiser employees use 30 folding electric-assist bicycles, or e-bikes, at three designated work sites.
The idea is to ascertain whether such options will encourage more people to use the bikes, which are both pedaled and propelled by electric motors when needed, when commuting to public transportation sites.
Drive Oregon could use the results to “create a replicable model for deployment” for other companies.
“For Kaiser employees who work at, say, Sunnyside (at the health company’s Clackamas location), they can get close, but that last mile is tough” for those using public transportation, Allen said. “An e-bike is a good way to do this. Kaiser also has a real interest in active transportation to get people to walk and bike and be more fit.”
The company is also trying to reduce demand for parking at its facilities, which would help improve air quality.
E-bikes are currently more popular in Europe than in the U.S. They’re different from, say, a Vespa or motor scooter because they can also be pedaled, or used without a motor.
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