UBC Civil Engineering’s REACT Lab has been honored with the 2023 Climate Action Award from the Community Energy Association for their work on an income-qualified e-bike incentive program in collaboration with the District of Saanich, British Columbia and the Greater Victoria Community Social Planning Council. This award highlights the effectiveness of the program in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting equity, underlining the vital role of research and government collaboration in addressing climate challenges.
With a goal of enabling widespread adoption of e-bikes for more sustainable transportation, the Saanich’s e-bike incentive program uniquely combines climate and equity objectives — a novel approach that has since been replicated in other parts of North America.
The UBC REACT Lab, led by Associate Professor Alex Bigazzi, played a vital role in the program’s design, utilizing research findings to inform program development and undertaking a robust study of long-term program impacts. The income-tiered purchase incentives range $350 to $1600 based on household income, enhancing bot program equity and effectiveness in greenhouse gas reductions through travel mode shift away from driving.
The final report on long-term impacts is expected in the fall, but interim results from early data reported to Saanich council earlier this year indicate that the program has been a resounding success.
The effectiveness of this initiative lies in REACT lab’s direct partnership with government agencies. This approach allowed for comprehensive modeling and analysis to predict the program’s impact. The sustainable transportation research translated into action enables policymakers to make informed decisions on sustainable policies.
The UBC REACT Lab is continuing their work in this area through a partnership with the Province of BC on a province-wide e-bike incentive program, built on the Saanich model. They are also partnering with governments and researchers throughout Canada and the USA on development of similar programs to facilitate equitable climate action. Other REACT Lab research is exploring the potential for micro mobility devices, such as e-scooters, to similarly enable a shift away from automobile dependence.
The 2023 Climate Action Award given to UBC REACT Lab and their partners is a testament to the transformative power of research-driven collaboration. The innovative approach taken by this partnership serves as a blueprint for others looking to initiate novel climate action programs.