In the context of the Active Travel Network project (within URBACT) the City of Weiz aimed to promotion pedelecs as a means of transport among clients of car dealers who bring their car to service or to be repaired and usually would have received a substitute car instead.
Background & Objectives
The EU project “Active Travel Network” within the scope of the “URBACT” program aims to shift motorised traffic to walking and cycling in small and medium sized cities.
The business location and ‘school town’ Weiz counts 9445 inhabitants, around 4000 pupils and 8000 working places, 6000 people commute into the city and 1500 commute out of the city every single day. This leads to heavy transport demands. The modal split of cycling in Weiz is, with 6 %, quite low.
Since the physiographic of the area is quite hilly the Pedelec can bee seen as an alternative way of transport offer for those who can’t use a regular bicycle.
Besides the promotion in local newspapers, the city of Weiz made a focus on local car dealers. People who bring their car to a local garage/ car dealer for service / repair usually receive a substitute car for the time their car is being repaired or serviced. Now an objective is that instead of this substitute car, the clients get a pedelec for free use. The target group of car drivers could gain a direct experience by testing this new mode of transport and cycle to the city to go shopping or have a cup of coffee etc.
The City of Weiz is responsible for this project with support of the car dealers. The project started in summer 2010 and is still ongoing. Both URBACT and the municipality were funding the concept and realizing the project. The LEADER program funded the providing of the pedelecs. 70 % of all car dealers accepted the idea and co-operate.
The project has been evaluated by
- setting up a questionnaire
- interviews with all participating car dealers
- interviews with clients
The evaluation was carried out in September 2011.
Outcomes of the evaluation were:
- All employees of the car dealers who were in contact with the customers were supposed to actively motivate them to accept the offer of the pedelec.
- More the ¾ of all respondents stated that the pedelecs were actively promoted as an alternative to substitute car by the car dealers
- Three out of five car dealers stated that pedelecs have been rented 3 – 4 times per week, 1 car dealer stated that pedelecs have been rented out for 2 times a week and at another car dealer said that his pedelecs have been rented out once a week in average.
- More than ¾ of all customers used the pedelec for shopping in Weiz which was a second objective of the campaign.
The project „Pedelecs rental at a car dealer“ was accepted in a positive way by both car dealers and users. They thought that the possibility to receive a pedelec for the time the car is being repaired or serviced as a good idea. Car dealers stated that there were some problems with the bike tires and the bicycle chain. Finally 5 out of total 7 car dealers of the city participate in this project.
The most important thing in this project was to work with a new target group, people who usually go by car. All the pedelec users in this project now have a positive attitude to a Pedelec in general.
The lesson learnt is that Weiz is a city where cyclists can reach all destinations within a short time, but with the pedelec they can be reached even faster: Within 10 minutes one can walk 0,7 km, cycle 2,5 km and pedelec 3,6 km! This is what Weiz now communicates to its citizens to promote more sustainable travel