The energy consumption data on the impacts of the last mile of travel is often estimated rather than calculated, resulting in uncertainty in emissions data. Students on the EPA team will develop and validate a physics-based model of energy usage of electric bikes and scooters based on environmental, geospatial, and behavioral variables, and create a simple website to communicate model results to the public.
Today’s global transportation sector is evolving rapidly, largely in response to concerns over climate change, the availability and accessibility of renewable energy sources, and consumer choices, forcing transformative changes to the way both people and consumer goods are transported. In order to inform future policies aimed at incentivizing best social outcomes (i.e., moving people efficiently and productively while minimizing the environmental impact), various transportation scenarios are examined using complex computer simulations, that account for the economic and environmental factors of various modes of transportation, from bikes and scooters (“micromobility”) to buses, planes and trains. Within this context, the impact of micromobility is often characterized using crude estimates of energy consumption, rather than scientifically measured data, resulting in wide uncertainty in city-level or grid-level energy and emissions estimates.
Through this project, students will test two representative micromobility modes – electric bikes and scooters – in a “real-world” environment, to measure energy consumption data in normal use. Additionally, the data will be used to develop and validate a physics-based model of energy usage of electric bikes and scooters based on environmental, geospatial, and behavioral variables. Model results will be disseminated to the public via a simple website.
The project sponsor will provide remotely located students in the U.S. with an electric scooter or bicycle to fully participate in the data collection and model validation process.