We sit down with Chris Dunley, the Operational Lead for Urban Mobility Solutions at Bosch and discuss conferences, behavioural change and e-bikes.
Hi Chris, would you like to introduce yourself and what you do at Bosch?
Hi, my name is Chris Dunley and I have been the Operational Lead for Urban Mobility Solutions for Bosch in the UK for the last 2 years or so. At the moment I’m involved with the London Connectory and I oversee various different projects in Urban Mobility including the e-bike team here in the UK, which I set up.
As someone who works closely with e-bikes, where do you see them fitting into the transport network in London?
Well, the UK is one of Europe’s largest cycling markets, but it’s behind in terms of e-bike adoption. With that being said, It has the potential to become a massive market in the future, especially in an urban setting. We are already seeing e-bikes become a part of the transport network in London with micro-mobility companies releasing them, so they certainly see the potential in these systems.
Where I see e-bikes creating the biggest impact is they can offer a smooth transition into cycling as they require less energy expenditure to get from A to B as a traditional bike. It’s because of this, they are an easier entry point for the public. I think it’s for this reason they’ll help change perceptions and habits and be a key reason for people to move away from the more congested transport options such as cars or public transport. I see e-bikes as a method to ease up and diversify the network and make it more attractive to the public to switch up their commute.
So you see e-bikes as a key part of social behaviour change?
I certainly think it is a good start. The question of how to change behaviour, especially towards active transport like bikes, is what we are trying to answer in the Active Travel Project here at Bosch. We want to understand what prevents people from cycling in urban areas. Are they worried about safety, storage, cost, the weather? Or is it that cars are so ingrained in our cities, we can’t think of anything outside of that.
Some concerns could be more important than others, but we need to collect data, consider every aspect and set out to solve these problems through innovation. So we’re looking now to see how we can collaborate with diverse groups of partners and find these solutions. The data on transport behaviour is out there, but how can we bring it all together and solve the concerns the public have and drive behaviour change.
I understand that you visited Velo-City in Dublin recently, how was it?
I did. The event was less industry-focused and more centred around cycling advocates from around the world talking about the challenges and progress of adoption in their respective cities and towns. The speakers shared the latest information on what companies and governments are doing to increase the cycling population and how they are capturing data sets and using it to drive change.
What were the key things you took away from the event?
Well, quite a bit. A key take away was that in order to change people’s habits, stakeholders need to all work closely together and share ideas. What was highlighted at the event is that people from different nationalities and from various groups were passionate about sharing and trading findings all in the name of making people’s lives better. This attitude is what London needs to adapt to meet the Mayor’s targets.
Questions of storage, infrastructure, policy and regulation all need to be answered not just by the private sector but working with the government all whilst keeping the citizens in mind above all else. I think this is key, not only for cyclists but for urban mobility as a whole.
So it’s about keeping the citizens at the centre of decisions and having mobility advocates work together.
Absolutely, we need everyone pulling in the same direction to make everyone happier, healthier and provide some balance to our cities.
Are there any exciting events coming up within the bike world that you are looking forward to?
The Cycle Show at the NEC this September will certainly be interesting. It will be a little more industry-focused than Velo-city with all the big brands there. I think that e-bikes will feature quite prominently which is great for the system.
I’ll be attending with Bosch so I am looking forward to showing off what we’ve been working on. There is also Eurobike in Germany which is happening in September which is Europe’s largest bike convention. Again, I am looking forward to seeing what innovations and advances the industry has made.