Active travel – cycling and walking – cuts CO₂ emissions. We know this for a fact, thanks to research from this year.
But in recent times, ‘active travel’ has been expanding its fleet. Electric bikes, cargo bikes, and e-scooters, are all helping replace car journeys. So how can we measure their impact? While they do replace car journeys – theoretically a simple reduction in carbon output – the majority of the time, on the other hand we know little about their manufacturing and cost-to-run impact on the environment.
With new research published by the Transport Research Society, however, we are closer to ascertaining just how much e-bikes do help reduce carbon emissions.
So, how much? Well, 24.4 million metric tons per year, in England. There is a certain degree of nuance behind this of course, but this research helps us understand that alongside traditional modes of active travel, e-bikes have a big part to play too.
Here’s how e-bikes could help in reducing carbon emissions.
Understanding The Data
Researchers at the University of Leeds simulated journeys across England to work out how much potential CO₂ could be saved by replacing car trips with e-biking.
Taking into account factors including age, fitness level, and terrain for 32,000 urban and rural English neighbourhoods, each with between 1,000 and 3,000 people, they were able to understand the proportion of car journeys which could be replaced by e-bike travel.
This resulted in an average saving of 0.58 tonnes of CO₂ per person, totalling to 24.4 million metric tons per year.
It is an astonishing figure, and one which is mirrored in research by Lufthansa Innovation Hub’s TNMT, a transit and mobility trade publication: