Research: Sustainability and Two-wheeled Transport

As part of my job I conduct research in to Automotive & Transport Design.  For this latest project we are using questionnaires to better understand Sustainability and Two-wheeled Transport. The link to the survey is below, It takes 5mins and you’ll help make designs that are more appropriate to modern needs.


The agreed description that has undergone ethical approval via the university is as below:


In 2017 the MCIA (2017) published a report suggesting a decline in motorcycle [Mopeds, Motorcycles and Tricycles] sales since 2016. This is part of an increasing decline of combustion powered two wheeled vehicle sales, as has been recently noted in a report published by HMRC (2017) which stated that ‘UK which is suffering from the greatest decline of bicycle sales in Europe’. Electric vehicle (EV) start-ups are bravely prototyping 2-wheeled EVs. However, there is little design literature to suggest how these should look and function for future generations to encourage successful adoption by future users.

This project aim is to gain a contemporary and new understanding of user experiences for future conceptual and innovative sustainable two wheeled electric transport designs. Consumer acceptance, recycling, sustainable technology, sustainable materials, and business models are the main focus of the research, asking: ‘What are the most appropriate designs for future generations’.

The project aim is to gain an in-depth understanding of user experiences for current and future conceptual and innovative sustainable electric transport designs. Outcomes and benefits are:

– Set of design recommendations to guide future two wheeled vehicle designers
– A set of exemplary sustainable electric transport designs that are appropriate for various age generations

‘Research by design’ (Frayling 1993) is the overall approach for this project, questioning designed artefacts to elicit knowledge (Rust et al. 2000).

PHASE 1: User expert interviews, questionnaires and focus groups with X-Generation (born between 1960s and 1980s), Y-Generation (born between 1980s and 1990s), and Z-Generation (born between 1995 and 2014) users will be conducted to underpin a set of design guidelines.

Users in UK, Europe, US, and China are of interest. UK and Europe because they are a home market, and China as a comparator because of their successful adoption of electric sustainable vehicles. Low and high volume manufacturing models are of interesting to understand which of the designs or features can be realistically be offered to users.

PHASE 2: The design guidelines will underpin different creative designs that are appropriate for different sustainable electric vehicles for each generation. 3D Virtual & 3D physical demonstrators will be fabricated.

PHASE 3: Following the design phase follow-up participatory research will be conducted through user expert interviews, questionnaires and focus groups to validate design work and guidelines.


  • HMRC (2017) HM Revenue and Customs – Overseas Trade Statistics. Available online at: []
  • MCIA (2017) The MotorCycle Industry Association – Press statistics December 2017. Available online at: []
  • Frayling, Christopher (1993) Research in Art and Design. RCA Research. Papers, vol. 1, no. 1. London: Royal College of Art.
  • Rust, C., Hawkins, S., Whiteley, G., Wilson, A. and Roddis, J. (2000) Knowledge and the artefact, in: Proceedings of Doctoral Education In Design Conference, la Clusaz, Frane, July 2000




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