Urban Transport Group Looks to E-bikes for City Transport Revolution

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Volt London Revolution Illustration

Since the early days of Londinium nearly 2000 years ago, our cities have been places of continual change. The very nature of a living city is to change as the people who live, work and play in it change too.

As the UK government announces the end of “Plan B” COVID measures in England, the question of what our cities will look like in the weeks, months and years ahead is probably the most open it’s been since those Roman sandals set foot on our chilly Albion shores.  

One group looking for a more efficient and greener future for our cities is the Urban Transport Group (UTG). The UTG represents the UK’s biggest authorities in urban transport, and they recently published a study into the impact of E-bikes in city areas. 

Titled “Fully charged: Powering up the potential of e-bikes in the city regions” this comprehensive study looks in detail at electric bikes and their impact on city regions in a post-pandemic landscape. 

Having steadily risen in popularity over recent years, e-bike sales in the past 18 months have rocketed across Europe, with the COVID-19 pandemic influencing changes in travel behaviour.

Folded Volt Metro in Liverpool Street Station

In the opening summary of the 40-page study that was originally published in November 2021 and prepared by Steer, it continues: 

Given that 68% of journeys in the UK are under five miles, there is, indeed, a huge opportunity for mode shift that e-bikes could significantly contribute to.

With an ambition from the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps himself to see half of all journeys undertaken in the city as well as towns to be undertaken on foot or by bike, Cycling Industry News estimates that e-bikes would contribute to 7% of all journeys taken in the UTG’s own target regions. The seven target regions identified in the document include Greater Manchester and London, Liverpool, South and West Yorkshire, Tyne and Wear and West Midlands. That’s an estimated 1.2 billion trips by e-bike a year across these regions which Cycling Industry News claim is worth “£1.5 billion annually in monetary benefit”. 

On paper, these ambitions and targets, backed by political will, certainly look like exciting times ahead. While on the roads we see more and more electric bicycles every day, if the ebike Revolution isn’t here already, it isn’t far off!