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Future perspective of electric bicycles in sustainable mobility in China

Lin, Xiao 2016. Future perspective of electric bicycles in sustainable mobility in China. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Abstract

The thesis seeks to analyse the electric bicycle (e-bike) transition phenomenon in China by applying the Multi-Level Perspective (MLP) Transition Theory and Multi-scalar Perspective MLP. The research is performed with abductive case studies drawn from mixed methods. Firstly, we synthesised secondary data to investigate the e-bike transition at the national level (China) and the city level (“mini” case studies of Beijing and Fuzhou) to explore the research questions of 1) Can socio-technical transition occur without deliberate policy support (RQ1)? 2) How can we explain the rapid emergence and enduring popularity of e-bikes in China (RQ2)? Then we performed exploratory research in Cardiff, UK and Nanjing, China using semi-structured interviews. The interview results are used to help design survey questionnaire in Nanjing case study. It is the key research step and addresses the following research questions: 1) How are e-bikes embedded in the current transport regime (RQ3)? 2) How much longer can e-bikes continue to be embedded in the transport regime (RQ4)? 3) What are the mechanisms underlying the rapid emergence of e-bikes (RQ5)? To analyse the data collected from the survey, Generalised Linear Models and Binomial Generalised Linear Models are adopted to investigate current mode choice behaviour and predict future choice. In the theoretical aspect, the thesis applied the Multi-scalar Perspective MLP, filling the gap that traditional MLP does not take into account geographical, socio-political heterogeneity. In addition, we paid attention to the individual role in travel mode behaviour. From a practical perspective, the thesis uses substantial empirical data to provide a comprehensive understanding of the e-bike transition. We invited various groups in the survey, including e-bike users, bicycle users, car drivers, pedestrians and traffic police. The thesis explores a wide range of influencing factors, such as user anxiety, feelings related to e-bike adoption, e-bike user charging behaviour, other travel mode users and traffic police attitude towards e-bike development which have not been studied in previous e-bike literatures. The main findings are: 1) The fast emergence of e-bikes in China is spontaneous, without direct policy support from governments; 2) E-bike transition in China begins with transformation pathway (P1), followed by de-alignment and re-alignment pathway (P2); 3) E-bike users in China are mainly young career-aged commuters and have a much higher education level than average, which are different from other countries; 4) E-bikes are well embedded in the current transport regime and they are adopted widely in many aspects of people’s daily lives, including commuting, going shopping, and collecting children; 5) The underlying reasons for the selection of e-bikes are they provide affordable personal mobility due to the advantages of effort saving, flexible trip times, time saving in traffic jams, and high accessibility, whereas environmental and health factors are negligible; 6) E-bikes are possibly an intermediate mode on Nanjing’s motorisation pathway.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2017 13:49
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/94809

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