Carsharing in a time of turbulence

KpVV report title page top

 

Preface to forthcoming KpVV report

This is a report about something popularly known as carsharing. And you can be sure that we are not the only ones to prepare such a report. Already in 2014 alone hundreds of reports have been bitten on this exact topic from a wide variety of points of view. Why one more? Well in this case we intend to take a slightly different approach to the topic.

Specifically we propose first to step back from our topic as generally defined and commonly accepted, to first consider the dynamics of the broader context – and specifically the high level of activity and innovation concerning ways in which new mobility patterns, unserved needs, economic realities, technologies, legislation, interest groups, political pressures, innovation, and yet more are today going through a raging process of adaptation and change which is often proving quite painful. If we put it all together we can see that this is a sector and the time in which the term “creative destruction” has real meaning.

What are some of the high points of the chaotic environment that we need to keep in mind in order to not lose sight of reality. Here is a shortlist for you to keep in mind:

  1. The inability of the transport sector thus far to emerge as a major, credible source of innovation and adaptation in the face of the increasingly high profile world wide climate challenges.
  2. The emergence of cities as dynamic and often successful centers for mobility innovation.
  3. The steady shrinking of the world automobile industry when it comes to the number of major players — leading them under exacerbating competitive pressures to actively explore new business areas including the provision of mobility services
  4. The effective end of growth of demand for new cars in the mature markets.
  5. The continuing inability of traditional public transport forms to meet a significant part of the new mobility requirements of 21st century lifestyles
  6. Increasing aggressive city policies for environmental, space and efficiency considerations to limit car use within the city limits.
  7. The reshaping of cities and neighborhoods to render them agreeable and efficient places to live, work, and get around in, without the 20th century requirement (dream) of a car in every driveway.
  8. The increasing number of households learning to live comfortably without cars, or with fewer cars than in the past.
  9. Increased income discrepancies, leaving larger vulnerable population
  10. Economic slowdown, the growing pressures to cut back public spending and services
  11. Battle lines forming up sharply between alternative taxi forms (Uber, Lyft, etc.
  12. New forms of IT-based intermediate public transport (DRT, Kutsuplus, etc.)
  13. And finally, the rapidly growing range and number of new mobility means which in many cases provide more efficient and economic transportation than the individual motor car.

This is the context within which the carsharing sector broadly and  strategically defined has to make its way in the coming years. As will be seen in the pages that follow we are optimistic that even with all of these pressures and difficulties, the carsharing sector in all of its increasing number of variations and parts is going to do very well in the years immediately ahead.

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Eric Britton
9, rue Gabillot, 69003 Lyon France

Bio: Trained as a development economist, Eric Britton is a public entrepreneur specializing in the field of sustainability and social justice. Professor of Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion (Paris), he is also MD of EcoPlan Association, an independent advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change and sustainable development. Founding editor of World Streets, his latest work focuses on the subject of equity, economy and efficiency in city transport and public space, and helping governments to ask the right questions -- and in the process, find practical solutions to urgent climate, mobility, life quality and job creation issues. More at: http://wp.me/PsKUY-2p7

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