A naturalistic observation of occupational workloads and predicted energy expenditure in New England pedicab drivers

Greg Richard Thoelke, University of Rhode Island

Abstract

The pedicab, also known as a cycle rickshaw, is a type of human-powered tricycle. Traditionally used for local public transportation in Southeast Asian countries, pedicabs are rapidly gaining popularity in the United States. Research on occupational workloads and energy expenditures of pedicab drivers is rare. The aim of this study was to observe and monitor occupational workloads and predict energy expenditures in free-living pedicab drivers during actual working conditions. Convenience samples were obtained from two groups of New England pedicab drivers, Boston, MA (N=16) and Newport, RI (N=12). Heart rate monitors capable of capturing heart rate variability data were used to record drivers' physiological responses during normal pedicabbing operations. Altitude loss and gain were also recorded. Subjective payload data were collected from each monitored driver at the conclusion of the work shift. Mean predicted energy expenditure values across groups varied from 27.92 ± 6.12 to 29.85 ± 3.37 kJ/min. Mean altitude gain in Newport was 868 ± 513 m versus 159 ± 74 m in Boston. Perceived gross shift payloads varied from 2,521 ± 456 kg in Newport to 3,445 ± 955 in Boston. These data indicate occupational workloads required of pedicabbing can be classified as heavy work. Data also indicate pedicab drivers transport from 35 to 45 people in 15 to 20 individual trips during the average eight-hour shift. This study is the first of its kind to describe specific aspects of workload demands required of employees engaged in U.S. human-powered cycling occupations.^

Subject Area

Health Sciences, Occupational Health and Safety|Health Sciences, Recreation

Recommended Citation

Greg Richard Thoelke, "A naturalistic observation of occupational workloads and predicted energy expenditure in New England pedicab drivers" (2012). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI1508356.
http://digitalcommons.uri.edu/dissertations/AAI1508356

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