The University of Brighton has teamed up with Raleigh for a project trialling ‘smart’ Raleigh e-bikes on the streets of the town.
Over this year and next, the project will form part of a study into sustainable transport and mobile media. The project aims to understand how people use e-bikes, and how smartphones can monitor this use and give useful feedback to riders. The results will help improve sustainable transport in the UK, it is hoped.
During the project, different groups of users will be offered the chance to try out the e-bikes for six week periods, targeting commuters and people of retirement age from local community groups. During the trials, researchers will use GPS tracking and smartphones to monitor bike use, as well as conduct surveys researching a range of issues such as ergonomics and safety.
Trial participants will be able to mount their smartphones onto the handlebars to receive feedback about their speed, distance covered and various other data.
“Raleigh has been investing in e-bike technology for a number of years and now they’re starting to take off in the UK," said Raleigh’s e-bike product manager Lloyd Clarkson. "We’re pleased to be working with the University of Brighton to get more bums on e-bike saddles and we’re excited to see how the findings can help shape our future e-bike product ranges."
Raleigh is supplying the 35 bikes for the trial, while Brighton’s Baker St Bikes will also be involved, providing e-bike maintenance, while local cycle trainers are also engaged with the project.
Brighton & Hove City Council is also a project partner, linked with work taking place in Brighton as part of the Department for Transport’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund.
This research is led by the University of Brighton’s senior lecturer in Media Studies, Dr Frauke Behrendt. The project is funded by a three-year grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), which has enabled Dr Behrendt, and colleagues Dr Sally Cairns from TRL (Transport Research Laboratory) and UCL (University College London), and David Raffo, from University of Ulster, to set up the ‘smart e-bikes’ project.