Changing Suburban Daily Mobilities in Response to a Mobility Intervention: A Qualitative Investigation of an E-bike Trial
In an article in Sustainability Ragnhild Dahl Wikstrøm and Lars Böcker present promising evidence that e-bikes could play a crucial role in achieving a sustainable transport transition, pointing out that interventions are essential for upscaling and mainstreaming.
This paper explores how local mobility interventions can bring about changes in daily mobilities and presents a qualitative study of an intervention introducing electric bikes (e-bikes) to suburban commuters in Norway. Our research shows promising evidence that e-bikes could play a crucial role in achieving a sustainable transport transition and that interventions are essential to stimulate the upscaling and mainstreaming of this emerging low-energy transport mode. In order to understand the scheme’s capacity to change mobility outcomes, this paper considers (i) how this low-energy mobility intervention was conceived and undertaken by its initiators, as well as how it was experienced by its participants; and (ii) how new e-bike practices are intertwined with existing daily activities and mobility systems. Theoretically, this paper draws on the staging mobilities framework and conceptualizes situational mobilities as involving the dimensions of embodiment, social interaction, and materiality. With this twofold objective, this paper generates crucial knowledge that is required to understand the capacity of mobility interventions to trigger a sustainable transport transition. This study explores the potential of combining mobile methods (GPS-tracking), qualitative GIS, and visual methods (photo- and map-elicitation) in interviews, and participant observations.