When I was hired as a Portland State University Special Projects Intern in October of 2016, my main responsibility solely focused on assisting with the development and delivery of the Community Electric Vehicle Project (CEV project). Much of this work involved being in and around the community – learning what will work, what won’t, and what the community actually needs. During this time, I was finishing up my degree in Cultural Anthropology and applying my learning methods to the real world was in itself an opportunity of its own. Working in the field for the project served as modern day ethnography. With great success and many lessons learned, the CEV project fell short of accommodating individuals who could not obtain a driver’s license. While this issue became addressed during the early stages of the CEV project, this allowed us at Forth to ramp up a new project that could fill that void. With funding from the 11th Hour Project, we were able to develop the Community Electric Bicycle Project. Similar to the CEV project, the Community Electric Bike pilot (CEB) served as a project that would test the benefits of e-bikes for individuals who live in underserved communities and lack access to frequent transit services.
Project planning began in early 2017, and in partnership with the Community Cycling Center and GenZe, the project launched in March and was able to serve individuals who sought another mode of transportation. The CEB project consisted of three cohorts of 10 participants and all were given an e-bike along with training and safety equipment for a duration of 10 weeks. The cohorts included individuals that resided in different neighborhoods, including North Portland and residents of Hacienda CDC. The Community Cycling Center’s Program Manager, Ira Dixon, facilitated the first two cohorts and the third cohort, which focused on individuals who could not participate in the CEV project, was an all-Spanish speaking cohort that I facilitated. By the time the project ended in November 2017, 4,000 miles were traveled and a total of 28 individuals participated. Notable takeaways included a general consensus that the bikes were too heavy, and that the appearance of the bikes was too flashy and expensive and thus a target for theft. However, ridership in general remained high and several participants had positive experiences. One participant got a job promotion due to having a more reliable mode of transportation!
Now as a full-time Program Associate, I and the rest of the Forth team are eager to share the full report of what the CEB project meant to the community and is our hope that this project will bring more light mobility transportation options into underserved neighborhoods. As new transportation technologies arrive, Forth seeks to help advance the way we get around and ensure all communities have access to clean transportation options.
To read the full report, click here. Questions? Contact us