Selected issues defining carsharing in your country

FB xcars 28oct13In the context of the ongoing World Carshare 2014 program, we have been asked by several considering authors to provide some context and perhaps indicate some issues or questions concerning matters that our readers might be interested to know more about in order to better understand the evolution of carsharing in their country.

For the overall structure of the program you are invited to check out World Streets at  where in the upper left-hand column you will see a full set of background materials on the work in progress.  To access all of the postings which have appeared here on various aspects of carsharing around the world click

As to the issues and questions, the following draft  listing may seem quite long and the number questions quite challenging; however the intention is not to provide a straitjacket of obligatory issues but rather to provide each author with some guidance, clues and context for their eventual report.  In the event your comments and suggestions on this list are very welcome and will definitely be taken into consideration as the project moves ahead.

1. Short history of carsharing in the country.

  • When did this different way of owning and using cars first get underway in your country: where, why, and with what results?
  • Who took the initial leadership role? (And where are they now on this issue?)
  • How do you define a shared car in your country? Is there an official or legal definition at the level of specific cities or for the country as a whole?
  • Can you make a (wild is okay) guess at what percentage of the total population has heard about and understands if only vaguely what carsharing is all about?

2. Present status.

  • Map showing places with carsharing today.
  • Number of cities in 2013 with carsharing: number vehicles, stations, subscribers, parking areas
  • Number and type of operators?
  • What are the different types of carsharing practiced today (classical: private, NGO, city-led, university, etc.; one way, peer-to-peer, private, informal)?
  • What are the success criteria by which individual operations or cities are being judged?
  • What are the main reasons people choose to carshare in 2014? Has this changed over time?
  • Users? Male/female? Older versus younger? Poor versus “rich”? 1st car versus 2nd or 3rd car?
  • What about electric vehicles? Present status? Eventual future prospects?
  • Anything new and interesting on the parking front?
  • On the insurance front?
  • Areas or buildings zoned or providing for carsharing)
  • How is carsharing linked to public transportation? Cycling?
  • Privileged access to road infrastructure, specific parts of the city?
  • If I am a registered carshare user in City X, can I automatically use an affiliated City Y carsharing scheme?
  • Is carsharing supported by national or local chambers of commerce and/or business groups?
  • Who are the main groups or interests that oppose carsharing, and why?
  • How visible is carsharing on the streets of the city?

3. Dynamics – 2008 – 2014.

  • What surprising, unexpected perhaps things have emerged in the last several years that are changing the nature of the challenges.
  • How is the practice and sector evolving over time?
  • Any time series data on key numbers (operations, vehicles, stations, users)?
  • What are the issues, institutions and new players who are now shaping its progress?
  • The role, position of the domestic automotive industry and sector, if any?
  • The link between carsharing and smart/mobile phones/pocket computers?
  • What are some of the main barriers still to be overcome?
  • Evolving role of the private sector? Who, where, how and when?
  • What about carsharing in outlying, less dense areas?
  • Are car rental firms getting directly involved? How?
  • P2P carsharing status and prospects?
  • Why do people stop carsharing?
  • Has anyone operator or city developed marketing and public relations materials in support of carsharing that have captured attention and that you consider to be exemplary?

4. Government role.

  • What role, if any, should public policy play in supporting its expansion?
  • Are there national (in your country) or international organizations or programs that are helping shape and advance progress and viability in the sector?
  • Are there certain local governments which are doing a better job at understanding and creating coherent policy support and guidelines for carsharing?
  • Who are the main actors, organizations and approaches presently shaping the sector?
  • At any of these levels of government is carsharing being treated as a mobility mode in its own right – should be the case also ideally with cycling and taxes, among others – and thus treated within the context of an overall integrated transportation policy?
  • How is that all our land-use issues being considered in this respect, for example making carsharing to specific zones, buildings, etc.
  • Is there one city in your country which provides an interesting model for integrating carsharing” overall sustainable transportation policy? Would that be and what would be the main characteristics of their policy?

5. The future.

  • Is there anything on the horizon that might bring about big changes, positive or negative, in the field of carsharing?
  • High profile consumer education campaigns to inform people concerning the full cost of automobile ownership?
  • Is carsharing starting to link to ridesharing for a “dual mode” service package?
  • Are there generational differences in terms of attitudes to car ownership?
  • Will carsharing just remain a detail or fade away? Or is it going to be an important part of the future?
  • Can we anticipate that carsharing will have a “seamless” relationship to the reminder of the multi-modal New Mobility package?

And finally, what in your view are the cities, companies, programs or countries anywhere in the world who are showing the way when it comes to making carsharing succeed as a small but vital component of their overall sustainable transport system?  Can any of these lessons and principles from the leading edge be applied to carsharing in your country?

carsharing 29oct13

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eb-about the editor - 9mar14

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