Mobility Energy Productivity and Equity: E-Bike Impacts for Low-Income Essential Workers in Denver

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1 Scopus Citations

Abstract

New mobility technologies such as electrified and shared mobility, combined with polices and incentive programs, are emerging to help address sustainability and equity issues in transportation planning. However, it can be difficult to understand the impacts of novel mobility trends and emerging modes on energy-efficient access. This is owing to a lack of (1) open-source tools enabling rapid data collection, and (2) open-source metrics that consider multimodal, multiactivity access and mobility within the contexts of sustainability and equity. This paper addresses the topic of improving evaluation of transportation modes and incentive programs by integrating an open-source platform for tracking human travel data—the Open Platform for Agile Trip Heuristics (OpenPATH)—with a mobility metric that quantifies the efficiency of a region’s transportation system: Mobility Energy Productivity (MEP). Integration is demonstrated in the context of pilot programs in Colorado, where low-income essential workers were provided with electric bikes (e-bikes). OpenPATH-informed MEP calculations showed that several locations in downtown Denver provided comparable time-, cost-, and energy-efficient access to opportunities using e-bikes compared with driving. Additionally, providing e-bikes to low-income essential workers was found to be meaningful, as they utilized e-bikes the most to commute, despite driving still being their most utilized mode and the mode with highest MEP scores in Denver. We show how data collected from open-source tools coupled with robust metrics such as MEP can help evaluate the impacts of emerging mobility options. This could support developing policies to incentivize novel modes to achieve greater levels of sustainable, equitable, and efficient access.

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© National Academy of Sciences: Transportation Research Board 2023.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5400-84863

Keywords

  • equity in transportation
  • micromobility and active transportation
  • planning and analysis
  • sustainability and resilience
  • transportation and society
  • transportation equity
  • travel surveys

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