The Bull E-Bike Pilot

Please note the Bull E-Bike Pilot concluded in November 2022. This webpage will remain active to showcase the program’s accomplishments and results and serve as a resource for other cities. 

The City of Durham’s Transportation Department conducted the Bull E-Bike Pilot to learn more about how electric bikes (e-bikes) can be deployed to improve the transportation experience in the Bull City. Selected participants used a pedal-assist e-bike for 4+ weeks in exchange for sharing information about their experience, including tracking their travel via a smartphone app. In addition to the e-bike, participants received a helmet, U-lock, other accessories, and maintenance support. We launched the first participant cohort on August 15, and the pilot ended in November 2022. 

The goal of the Bull E-Bike Pilot was to learn the effects of a downtown Durham employee receiving an electric-assist bike. The collected data and lived experiences from this pilot project taught us and other cities that electric-assist bikes for downtown workers can help increase transportation access, reduce single-occupancy vehicle trips, and more. 

Participant Testimonial Videos:


The goal of the Bloomberg Mayors Challenge was to reduce single occupancy vehicle trips to and around downtown Durham using behavioral science, human-centered design, and rigorous evaluation. The opportunity exists to integrate available electric-assist bike resources in Durham into a Mayors Challenge project.

Data Collection Partner: National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) advances the science and engineering of energy efficiency, sustainable transportation, and renewable power technologies and provides the knowledge to integrate and optimize energy systems.

NREL developed the OpenPATH app, through which Bull E-Bike Pilot project participants provided data about their trips. Data collected during the pilot was used to understand how e-bikes are used, including when and how often and the distance traveled. NREL and the City of Durham gained insight into the travel habits of participants and the CO2 savings generated by switching from drive-alone automobile and transit trips to trips on an e-bike.

After the program, the data was securely archived in the Transportation Secure Data Center (TSDC) at NREL to support long-term anonymous transportation research and analysis.

The Bull E-Bike team developed a quantitative and qualitative data analysis. Data limitations on this dashboard include missing participant trips and tracking outside pilot participation. Check out the Bull E-Bike Pilot Data Dashboard to see some of the data collected. 

2023 ACT Conference:

Way to Go Durham Staff attended the 2023 Association for Commuter Transportation Conference to present on the impact of the Bull E-Bike Program. The presentation was entitled, “E-Bikes Enhancing Mobility while Maximizing Equity in the Bull City. “

During the conference, the City’s team was awarded the 2023 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award for the program’s efforts and impact on a diverse commuter base. This award was given to the recipient who showcased a commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the transportation commuter and TDM community and focused on establishing a commitment to creating a culture of inclusion within the areas of influence.

Post Pilot Impacts:

Now that the pilot has concluded learn the impact by reading the Executive Summary and Implementation Guide.

Awards and Recognition:

  1. Association for Commuter Transportation Outstanding Diversity Equity and Inclusion Award – August 2023
  2. Special Recognition at the Governor’s Awards for High-Impact Research 
  3. Equity in Cleantech Innovation Award- November 2023


Contact Us!

3 + 1 =