Worcester E-Bike Program participants after a group ride
Thanks to funding from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, MassBike has been working on a Worcester E-Bike Pilot Program since the spring of 2022. The initial goal was to distribute approximately 100 electric pedal-assist bicycles to low-income individuals who live or work in the City of Worcester and track the usage of these electric bicycles. The program would serve as a pilot to see how e-bikes fare as a reliable non-polluting mode of transportation in Worcester.
As of June 2023, we have 98 participants utilizing their e-bikes throughout Worcester and all available e-bikes have been deployed. Thanks to our strong partnerships in the city, we’ve provided opportunities for education and community engagement for our program participants. We hosted events ranging from online workshops to in-person rides for our e-bike participants and opened up several events to the entire Worcester community. We’ll continue to provide these opportunities throughout the program, so we hope you can join us at one of our events that’s open to community members!
While MassBike sees the education and community engagement aspects of our program as crucial to its success, we understand that the data we’re collecting is of the most interest to e-bike enthusiasts across the Commonwealth. Between August 2022 and May 2023, our e-bike program participants took over 8,000 trips and biked more than 32,000 miles. In May 2023, 30% of e-bike trips were taken to commute to work, 17% for shopping trips, 37% for recreation, and 14% for other purposes (most participants report e-biking to doctors appointments as the most common reason for reporting “other”).
As part of our data collection for MassCEC, we’ve been calculating the estimated emissions savings (EES). We estimate that between August 2022 and February 2023, our participants avoided more than 13,000 lbs of CO2 by utilizing their e-bikes for transportation. The EES was calculated using EPA’s formula and our estimates assume that the recreational trips did not replace any polluting transportation mode.
Now that we have finished deployments and locked in our data collection process, the MassBike team will be working to provide more regular program updates. After we close out data collection for each month, we’ll be adding it to this publicly accessible spreadsheet which you can view here: MassBike Worcester E-Bike Program Public Data
Worcester E-Bike Program participants helping MassBike table at the 2023 Whole Kids event
The human component of this pilot program is of the utmost importance to the MassBike team. We’ve compiled a few impactful testimonial statements we’ve received from our participants thus far:
“I'm super excited. I took my first journey out to work. I'm starting to feel much better on the road. Although I feel like a mirror would help so I will be purchasing one this week. The roads were good but when I happened upon a bike lane near Elm Park it made a world of difference. I can't believe how much more comfortable and safer I felt!”
“I wish more people knew about e-bikes. They are making a huge difference in my quality of life.”
“There is something about riding a bike that doesn't compare to anything. As I like to say, it's the closest thing to flying without leaving the ground!”
“This bike has been life-changing for me! It has been so helpful with exercising and errands.”
Participants receiving their new bikes from Landry's Bicycles
- 98 participants were selected out of 1,181 applications.
- The selected participants embody the City of Worcester’s demographics in terms of race and match the city’s latest census data.
- Between August 2022 and May 2023, participants reported 8,000+ trips and 32,000+ miles.
- The e-bikes are primarily used for work, recreation, and shopping.
Education and community engagement will continue during the summer months through organized events and rides. We’re currently tabling at REC Farmers Markets twice a month in collaboration with Worcester Earn-A-Bike, Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission (CMRPC), Walk/Bike Worcester, and Clark University. We hope to see you at a market this summer or at one of our upcoming Worcester events!