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Getting started on a car diet: Assessing the behavioural impacts of an E-Bike trial in Switzerland.

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Proceedings (peer-reviewed)
Author Moser Corinne , Blumer Yann , Hille Stefanie Lena ,
Project Using formal social groups to promote energy sufficient behaviour in cities
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Proceedings (peer-reviewed)

Title of proceedings International Energy Policies & Programmes Evaluation Conference 2016
Place Amsterdam

Open Access


In summer 2015, the Bike4Car campaign took place in Switzerland. During five months, car owners could try out an electric bike (e-bike) for free for a period of two weeks in exchange for their car keys. The campaign was organized by an environmental non-governmental organisation (NGO) and supported by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy, several cities, as well as bike retailers all over the country. In total, 1854 people participated in the Bike4Car campaign. We surveyed participants who took part in the campaign shortly before and after participating in the free trial. The aim was to study participants’ motivation for taking part, their experiences during the trial and to identify whether such a free trial impacts intentions to reduce car use. Out of all participants, 405 individuals completely filled out the first questionnaire and 218 participants completely filled out the second questionnaire. For 90 respondents, both questionnaires are available for a comparative analysis. The most important reasons for participation in the free trial were that people wanted to try out a new means of transportation, followed by the intention to develop a healthier mobility pattern. Some of the participants also intended to use the trial as an opportunity to try out an e-bike before taking a final purchase decision. We found a high willingness among participants to change their mobility patterns after having participated in the free trial (i.e., by using the car less often or by buying an e-bike). However, willingness for a radical change (e.g., selling their car) was only marginal. Furthermore, we asked participants for their habitual associations related to the choice of means of transport for nine selected situations (e.g., picking up somebody from the railway station). When comparing the habitual associations related to the choice of means of transport before and after trying out an e-bike, we found significant shifts: After having participated in the trial, the number of times the car was mentioned significantly dropped while the number of times the e-bike was mentioned significantly increased. This indicates that experiencing the benefits of a car free lifestyle has the potential to at least moderately break mobility habits.