The Potential of Cargo Bikes: Diffusion, Uses, Effects, and Willingness for Delivery

Cargo bikes are two- or three-wheeled bicycles with a load capacity that facilitates transporting bulky objects or children. In the last few years, cargo bike sales have been booming in cities in Switzerland, with an increase of +184% between 2019 and 2021, exceeding 4000 units sold.
This project aimed to study the potential of cargo bicycles, both for personal transport, and for the commercial delivery of goods. To do so, two online surveys were developed.

Firstly, a national survey of around 1000 cargo bike users (the largest thus far), whose respondents included 3/4 of cargo bike owners, as well as 1/4 of shared cargo bike users. We found that cargo bikes have strong effects on reducing car trips, but that this practice remains fragile due to the cycling environment.

Secondly, a survey of the online delivery preferences of over 2000 students on the UNIL-EPFL campus. Our results suggest that delivery by cargo bike appeals more to a young generation of students, who are willing to make efforts for sustainable delivery (pay, wait, or move), but less to older generations and those who are already frequent online shoppers.