Modelling the impact of cycle superhighways and electric bicycles

Martin Hallberg*, Thomas Kjær Rasmussen, Jeppe Rich

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The share of electric bicycles is increasing. This change implies a series of outcomes, which are not understood today. Firstly, it increases travel speed for bicycles. This leads to additional consumer surplus benefits that depend on the share of electric bicycles. Secondly, it affects how infrastructure should be designed to accommodate faster bikes and avoid accidents. Thirdly, since electric bicycles can travel longer distances, they represent an alternative mode of transport for a wider range of trips. Hence, it is expected that the substitution of bicycle trips for car and public transport trips will increase. These implications have motivated the development of a large-scale econometric model where a combination of infrastructure scenarios and different bicycle types can be studied. This involves the modelling of mode and destination choice in combination with a route choice model for bicycles that accounts for differences in speed profiles across the types of bicycles and infrastructure. The main finding of this study is that the impact and importance of a bicycle network cannot be considered without, at the same time, considering the changes in the composition of bicycle types. Not accounting for the increasing share of electric bicycles will underestimate the direct travel time benefits by as much as 25% in the most extreme cases. It is also found that the introduction of more cycle superhighways in combination with increasing shares of electric bicycles caused more substitution of car trips for bicycle trips. In the extreme case, the share of bicycle trips increases to as much as 7.4%, where approximately 40% of the new bicycle trips came from substituted car drivers. The spatial distribution of benefits between different infrastructure scenarios were also investigated. The result suggests that even minor expansions of existing infrastructure can have significant effects, if these expansions are carried out at locations that increase the network connectivity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTransportation Research Part A
Pages (from-to)397-418
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Cycle superhighways
  • Electric bicycles
  • Transport demand
  • Bicycle infrastructure
  • Mode choice


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