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The Future of E-Bikes on Public Lands Research Study

Introduction

Recreational use on public lands is constantly evolving, driven by economic and societal factors coupled with advances and changes in technologies. Recent advancements in the transportation and recreation sectors related to electrification of vehicles, including personal bicycles and bicycle sharing systems, have introduced the electric bicycle (e-bike) to transportation and trail systems. Public land managers across the country have been inconsistent in their response to these new technologies. Meanwhile, industry and advocates have pushed for increased access and integration of e-bikes into existing transportation and trail systems. Much debate within the existing user communities has occurred related to the integration and management of e-bikes and related implications for traditional non-motorized trail users and advocates.
 

Despite the increasing prevalence of e-bikes in the transportation and recreation space there is a dearth of data or research to support science-based management of e-bikes on trail and transportation infrastructure on public lands. To address this void, this project seeks to enhance coordination and cooperation among Federal land management agencies and transportation and recreation agencies at the Federal, tribal, State, regional, and local levels around the topic. This project will be informed by and contribute to a project led by the Federal Highway Administration’s Office of Human Environment, which is developing a literature review and case studies on the existing and potential impacts of e-bike use in a variety of contexts, including on trails, public lands, and urban, suburban, and rural areas.

Goals

This Study will analyze the impacts of e-bikes on public lands by synthesizing the existing knowledge base and conducting outreach to public lands managers to identify priorities and opportunities for research.

The specific Study goals are to:

  1. Identify and inventory existing and potential impacts related to e-bike use on public lands
  2. Analyze the data to inform science-based decision-making and the management process for land managers

Scope

The Study is guided by a cross-USDOT project management team and a Research Panel composed of local, State, Federal, and non-profit groups interested in studying the use of e-bikes on public lands. The key tasks are to:

  1. Establish Technical Review Group
  2. Develop Study Methodology
  3. Collect Relevant Data
  4. Develop Natural Resource and Social Impact Studies
  5. Prepare Findings
  6. Develop Final Report
  7. Implement Findings

How to Engage

The Study’s anticipated timeline is almost two years (August 2020 through June 2022), with engagement opportunities throughout. The project team is convening various stakeholder workshops to ensure the Study’s approach, findings, and deliverables consider not only the concerns, questions, and research needs of land managers, but also consider those of public land users. To stay up to date on the project, visit this project page regularly, and contact the Project Manager, Seth English-Young, for more information. The primary ways to engage with this Study include:

  • Volunteer to participate in a stakeholder workshop
  • Submit recommended reading and related research
  • Submit questions you hope this research will address

Project Documents

For a printable version of the information on this page, click the link below. As the Study progresses, new documents and materials will be added here. Check back regularly for new documents.