Amid escalating environmental challenges and congested urban centers, the focus on mobility transition towards more sustainable commuting options is increasing. Among these, electric bicycles (e-bikes) present a promising alternative, blending the benefits of moderate physical exercise with reduced commute times and environmental impact. A recent study conducted in Noord-Brabant, the Netherlands, explores how incentive programs for e-biking can help transform commuter intentions into consistent e-biking behaviors.

The study, led by Dr. Joost de Kruijf and his team at Utrecht University, including Dr. Dea van Lierop and Professor Dick Ettema, along with collaborators Dr. Maarten Kroesen from Delft University of Technology and Professor Martin Dijst from Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER), focused on participants of an e-cycling incentive program that rewarded commuters for switching from car travel to e-bikes. This research was published in the Journal of Cycling and Micromobility Research.

Dr. Joost de Kruijf shared insights into the importance of understanding the gap between what people intend to do and what they actually do. “In general, this study shows that the incentive program has a positive impact on participants’ shift to e-cycling during the incentive program,” he noted. The research utilized a detailed survey conducted at three different times to capture changes over time, providing a detailed look at how people’s initial plans translated into actual e-biking habits.

Findings from the study showed that a significant number of participants, about two-thirds, stuck closely to their initial plans, using the e-bike just as often as they intended when they started the program. Dr. de Kruijf pointed out, “People who were already cycling to work with a regular bicycle before starting the program were more likely to stick to their e-biking plans.” This highlights how existing habits influence the adoption of new commuting practices. In general, particpants increased e-bike use over time due to increase physical condition and attractiveness.

Moreover, the study revealed that personal beliefs, habits, and goals surprisingly did not significantly influence how consistently people’s intentions matched their behaviors. Dr. de Kruijf noted, “Our results also show that personal beliefs, habits, and goal-related variables do not influence how consistently intentions and behavior match up for people how already enrolled in such an incentive program.” This finding challenges some traditional ideas in behavioral science and suggests that straightforward benefits of e-biking, such as convenience and immediate advantages, and incentives might be more influential in shaping commuting choices.

Additionally, the research underscored that the incentive program had a noticeable positive effect, motivating participants to continue using e-bikes even after the program ended. This suggests that well-designed incentive programs can effectively promote lasting changes in commuting habits by successfully bridging the gap between intention and action.

These insights contribute significantly to our understanding of behavior change in transportation and highlight the potential of targeted programs to encourage more sustainable urban transport options. Policymakers and urban planners can use these findings to craft more effective e-cycling programs that encourage a move away from car dependency, thus reducing urban congestion and lessening environmental impact.

Journal References

Joost de Kruijf, Dea van Lierop, Dick Ettema, Maarten Kroesen, Martin Dijst, “E-cycling intention versus behavioral change: Investigating longitudinal changes in e-cycling intention and actual behavior change in daily commuting,” Journal of Cycling and Micromobility Research, 2024. DOI:

About The Author

Joost de Kruijf was born in august 1976 in ’s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands. He received his bachelor’s degree in Transportation Engineering in 1999 from the Breda University of Applied Sciences. After that, he started his master‘s degree in Urban Geography at the Utrecht University and graduated in 2002. In a parallel vein, Joost started his career as a traffic forecast modeling specialist in 1999 supporting government in anticipating on impact of future mobility. 

In 2011, Joost moved to the Breda University of Applied Sciences to focused more on research and innovation in the field of transportation and the built environment. At that time, he started his PhD research at the department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning at the Utrecht University. 

Most of his research concentrates on data-driven (cycling) policy and business enhancement including topics as accessibility, user-experience, network planning and digital twinning. In his current work, Joost focusses on establishing strong connections between science, government, and industry in the field of mobility, built environment and data solutions. 

His works are published in a variety of peer-reviewed international journals, including Transportation Research part A, Travel Behaviour and Society, Journal of Transport and Health, Transportation Research Procedia, Landscape and Urban Planning, Journal of Transport Geography, and Computers, Environment and Urban Systems.