The barriers to greater bicycle use are being understood, but it seems unlikely that large scale adoption will occur in the US. Nonetheless it is interesting to consider the potential result of a large scale shift to human and hybrid human-electice powered urban transport.
A paper from the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy at UC Davis (pdf) \
The Potential for Dramatically Increasing Bicycle and E-bike Use in Cities Around the World, with Estimated Energy, CO2, and Cost Impacts
Davis Jacob Mason, Lew Fulton, Zane McDonald
Cycling plays a major role in personal mobility around the world, but it could play a much bigger role. Given the convenience, health bene ts, and affordability of bicycles, they could provide a far greater proportion of urban passenger transportation, helping reduce energy use and CO2 emissions worldwide.1 This report presents a new look at the future of cycling for urban transportation (rather than recreation), and the potential contribution it could make to mobility as well as sustainability. The results show that a world with a dramatic increase in cycling could save society US$24 trillion cumulatively between 2015 and 2050, and cut CO2 emissions from urban passenger transport by nearly 11 percent in 2050 compared to a High Shift scenario without a strong cycling emphasis.
The report builds on the 2014 study A Global High Shift Scenario: Impacts and Potential for More Public Transport, Walking, and Cycling with Lower Car Use. That report provided a global assessment of the potential for increasing travel on sustainable, ef cient modes while concurrently developing cities that are far less car-dependent. However, the role of cycling in the previous study could be considered relatively minor, with the global average urban mode share increasing by three percentage points in 2030 (from 3 to 6 percent of total travel).2 A number of supporters/ users and contributors to the previous report felt that the role of cycling might have been understated in that study. The authors rec- ognized that those comments might be valid because within the wider study there was limited capacity to consider cycling in detail.This report explores just how much is possible if we study cycling in more detail using the same approach. The result is the most com- prehensive picture ever of global urban cycling activity.
Both the 2014 study and the High Shift Cycling Study focus on urban areas, which are projected to have the greatest growth in demand for travel. Given the higher densities of people, services, and jobs that are possible in cities, as opposed to rural areas, cities inherently have the greatest potential to direct the growing demand for travel to sustainable modes and to cycling in particular.
This study uses the same basic method- ology as the previous study, including the development of business-as-usual and high shift scenarios. However, it provides a number of new contributions over the previous study.