This paper reports on the effects of an e-cycling incentive program in the province of North-Brabant, The Netherlands, in which commuters could earn monetary incentives when using their e-bike. The study used a longitudinal design allowing to observe behaviour change and mode shifts. The program appeared to be highly effective in stimulating e-bike use, as one month after the start of the program, the share of commute trips made by e-bike increased from 0% to 68%, with an increase up to 73% after half a year of participating. The environmental, congestion and health benefits of this shift are however mixed. Half of the e-bike trips substitute car trips, with positive effects on environment, congestion and health. The other half substitutes conventional cycling trips, implying fever health benefits. Our analyses further suggest that distance is an important factor for adopting e-cycling, where e-bike has a larger acceptable distance than a conventional bike. Nevertheless, we observed that the likelihood to use the e-bike decreased as commuting distance increased. Multivariate analyses suggest that a shift to e-cycling is affected by age, gender, physical condition, car ownership and household composition. Our study did find support for the hypothesis that having a strong car-commuting habit decreases the probability of mode shift to a new mode alternative. In contrast, multimodality may increase the likelihood of e-bike use as a result of openness to other travel options and a more deliberate mode choice. Lastly, dissatisfaction with the current travel mode positively influences mode shift towards the e-bike. Our results imply that stimulating e-cycling may be a promising way of stimulating physical activity, but that it will be most effective if targeted at specific groups who are not currently engaging in active travel.
- incentive program
- behavioural change