Diverse e-bike usage in Commuting Behaviors in Urban and Rural Settings


  • Junyu Hu junyu@ign.ku.dk


commuting behavior, E-bike, Urban-rural transportation gap, sustainable transportation, mode choice




E-bikes have become the preferred mode of transportation for many individuals, particularly for commuting purposes. E-bikes emerge as a pathway for both efficient and more sustainable transportation mode compared to cars (Fishman and Cherry, 2016). E-bike have a travel range that can exceed 13 kilometers, which is considerably greater than the average range of 5 kilometers for traditional bicycles. (Lopez et al., 2017).

While traveling on e-bikes, many people also perform moderate-intensity physical activity (de Haas et al., 2022). For these reasons, it possesses a higher tendency to substitute car commuting. While traditional cycling for commuting is mostly taking place in urban areas, the long-distance commuting capabilities of e-bikes make them an attractive mode of transportation for residents in a wider range of locations. In addition to urban areas, individuals residing in suburban or peri-urban regions who face the necessity of daily long-distance commuting may also opt for e-bikes (Plazier et al., 2018). Nevertheless, existing research lacks a comparative assessment that can cater for identifying the interrelations between the commuting behaviors of e-bike riders in regions characterized by different population densities and urban sizes. Users residing in towns, cities, or suburban areas exhibit distinct commuting patterns as a result of their diverse residential and occupational locations. In this paper, we aim to find out the role of e-bikes as a mode of transportation for connecting urban and rural settings.

As a case study, bicycles are widely used for commuting in Denmark. The study analyzes a survey data from 3,000 commuters in Denmark, conducted by the Danish Transport Agency (Det Nationale Videnscenter for Cykelfremme, 2023). The questionnaire includes various user characteristics and commuting pattern information, such as the user's gender, age, postal code, education, occupation, income, commuting distance, mode of transportation (including e-bike, bike, car, public transport, etc.), 20 potential reasons for selecting an e-bike, preferred mode of transportation for various travel purposes, typical travel distances for different modes of transportation. By analyzing this data we can identify which of these commuters are typical urban-rural commuters and why they choose e-bikes.

Screening of users needs to be done both in terms of their living environment and commuting distance. Using the user's postcode, the population density within a 5-kilometer radius of the user's living environment (residential area) and the population density within a 25-kilometer radius (commuting range) can be calculated. Through these two densities, we can initially determine the user's living settings. Simultaneously, comparing users' commuting distances can further determine whether their travel pattern belongs to urban-rural commute.

By integrating geographic information to screen users based on living environment and commuting distance, the paper offers insights into the role of e-bikes in connecting urban and rural settings. This analysis provides valuable information for policymakers and urban planners seeking to promote sustainable transportation options and improve infrastructure to accommodate diverse commuting needs.


de Haas, M., Kroesen, M., Chorus, C., Hoogendoorn-Lanser, S., Hoogendoorn, S., 2022. E-bike user groups and substitution effects: evidence from longitudinal travel data in the Netherlands. Transportation (Amst) 49, 815–840. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11116-021-10195-3

Det Nationale Videnscenter for Cykelfremme, 2023. Mere strøm på de danske cykler ELCYKLING I DANMARK.

Fishman, E., Cherry, C., 2016. E-bikes in the Mainstream: Reviewing a Decade of Research. Transp Rev 36, 72–91. https://doi.org/10.1080/01441647.2015.1069907

Lopez, A.J., Astegiano, P., Gautama, S., Ochoa, D., Tampere, C.M.J., Beckx, C., 2017. Unveiling E-Bike Potential for Commuting Trips from GPS Traces. ISPRS Int J Geoinf 6. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi6070190

Plazier, P.A., Weitkamp, G., Berg, A.E.V. Den, 2018. Exploring the adoption of e-bikes by different user groups. Front Built Environ 4. https://doi.org/10.3389/fbuil.2018.00047