Vehicle Rental Services That Substitute for Private Vehicle Ownership


TDM Encyclopedia

Victoria Transport Policy Institute


Updated 29 September 2015

This chapter describes Carsharing, which refers to vehicle rental services that substitute for private vehicle ownership. This requires that rental services be easily accessible, affordable and convenient to use, even for short time periods.




Carsharing refers to automobile rental services intended to substitute for private vehicle ownership. It makes occasional use of an affordable affordable, even for low-income households, and by allowing households to reduce their vehicle ownership it provides an incentive to reduce driving and rely more on alternative modes.


There are three general types of Carshare services:


·         For-profit private vehicle rental companies oriented toward local residential use, such as Zipcar and Car2Go.


·         Not-for-profit co-operatives, which rent vehicles to members such as Modo and City Car Share


·         Peer-to-peer services, in which owners list their vehicles for rent for short periods, typically using Internet and mobile telephone apps, such as Relay Rides and WhipCar.


New mobile technologies with location information significantly increase carsharing convenience. They allow users to locate the nearby Carshare vehicles and automate payments.


Station cars are Carsharing services located at transit stations to allow transit users to reach destinations that are too far for walking. This supports transit use, particularly in suburban areas where destinations are dispersed. Because they are intended for short trips, station cars can employ small, alternative fuel vehicles, such as battery powered electric cars. Public Bike Systems are automated bicycle rental systems designed to provide efficient mobility for short, utilitarian urban trips, similar to Carsharing.


There are typically 10-20 members per vehicle. Carsharing is expanding rapidly. In 2013 there were more than 12,000 Carshare vehicles in the U.S. used by approximately 900,000 Carshare organization members (Shaheen and Cohen 2013). Carsharing is even more common in some European countries including Germany and Great Britain.

Carshare organizations typically charge $1-3 per vehicle-hour, plus 25-40¢ per mile. Cooperatives often charge a refundable membership deposit. These charges cover all vehicle operating expenses, including fuel and insurance. There are often special rates for extended trips and infrequent users.


Carsharing is considered a cost effective alternative to owning a vehicle driven less than about 6,000 miles (10,000 kms) per year. The table below compares personal transportation options.


Table 1          Vehicle Use Options Compared





Private Ownership

Conventional Rental










Fixed Charges





$600/yr max

Time Charges






Mileage Charges






This table compares convenience and price of five common travel modes.



Carsharing offers medium convenience, and has low fixed costs and high variable costs. Private vehicle ownership offers the most convenience, has the highest fixed costs and lowest variable costs. Conventional vehicle rental businesses are not intended to substitute for private vehicle ownership. They are located at transportation terminals or commercial centers and priced by the day, and so are relatively expensive for individual short trips. They generally have high daily rates but low variable costs. Taxis are relatively convenient and have no fixed charges but the highest variable charges. Public transit has moderate to low convenience (depending on location), modest to low costs.



How it is Implemented

Carsharing services are developed by private companies, cooperatives or by software applications that facilitate peer-to-peer carsharing. Carsharing services sometimes receive grants or other incentives (such as free parking, tax incentives and promotion) to develop in a particular location, for example, at new housing development as a way to reduce Parking requirements or at a transit station (Enoch and Taylor 2006; Rivasplata, et al. 2012).



Travel Impacts

Various studies have found that, although Carsharing can increase travel for some users, by reducing the need for households to own vehicle, it tends to reduce overall vehicle travel (Lovejoy, Handy and Boarnet 2013). Because Carsharing variable costs are 2-10 times higher than for a personal automobile, users tend to minimize their driving. Overall travel reductions depend on what portion of Carshare participants would otherwise own a personal automobile (they typically reduce their vehicle use by 40-80%) and which portion would otherwise not own an automobile (they typically increase their vehicle use by a small amount). Most studies suggest that Carsharing typical results in a net reduction in per capita driving among participants that averages 40-60%, but this varies depending on the demographics of participants and the quality of travel options in a community.


Martin and Shaheen (2010) obtained useful survey responses from 6,281 carsharing members throughout the United States. They find significant net reductions in vehicle ownership, vehicle travel and pollution emission. Of the households surveyed, the average vehicles ownership was 0.47 before joining a carshare service and 0.24 after. They found that each carshare vehicle reduced 9 to 13 personal vehicles. About 70% of total surveyed households increased their vehicle travel by a small amount (carsharing allowed them to drive more than they otherwise would), while 30% reduced their vehicle travel by a large amount (carsharing allowed their household to own fewer vehicles, and therefore reduced their annual vehicle mileage), resulting in significant net vehicle travel reductions overall.


In a study of the San Francisco City CarShare program, Cervero and Tsai (2003) find that when people join, nearly 30% reduce their household vehicle ownership and two-thirds stated they avoided purchasing another car, indicating that each Carshare vehicle substitutes for seven private cars, and that the average member drives 47% fewer annual miles after joining. However, since Carsharing tends to attract motorists who already drive relatively low mileage, total travel reductions may be relatively small.


Carsharing services are usually located in urban areas where there are suitable travel options so a significant portion of residents do not need own an automobile, and sufficient regular users within convenient walking distance (typically 0.3 miles) of the vehicles. In a typical region 10-20% of residents live in neighborhoods suitable for carsharing, and perhaps 3-5% of those residents would carshare rather than own a private vehicle ownership if the service were available. People who shift from owning a private vehicle to carsharing are typically lower-annual-mileage drivers who reduce their vehicle travel about 50% (i.e., they reduce their mileage from 6,000 to 3,000 annual miles). This suggests that carsharing services can reduce total vehicle travel by 0.1% to 0.2%, although much more in suitable urban neighborhoods.


Table 2          Travel Impact Summary




Reduces total traffic.


Reduces total per capita vehicle travel.

Reduces peak period traffic.


Reduces total per capita vehicle travel.

Shifts peak to off-peak periods.



Shifts automobile travel to alternative modes.


Reduces total per capita vehicle travel.

Improves access, reduces the need for travel.


Supports higher-density, mixed land use.

Increased ridesharing.


Encourages alternatives to driving.

Increased public transit.


Encourages alternatives to driving.

Increased cycling.


Encourages alternatives to driving.

Increased walking.


Encourages alternatives to driving.

Increased Telework.


Encourages alternatives to driving.

Reduced freight traffic.



Rating from 3 (very beneficial) to –3 (very harmful). A 0 indicates no impact or mixed impacts.



Benefits And Costs

Benefits include (Litman 2000; Bonsall 2002; TRB 2005):


·         Increased consumer choice and financial savings.


·         Increased affordability for lower-income drivers who occasionally need a vehicle.


·         Reduced per capita annual mileage, resulting in reduced congestion, road and parking facility costs, crashes, pollution and energy use.


·         Reduced residential parking requirements and support for higher density residential development (Rivasplata, et al. 2012).



Martin and Shaheen (2010) found significant net VMT and emission reductions. The overall net change in emissions an average reduction of 0.84 tonnes of greenhouse gases, taking into account both the households that increase their vehicle travel and those that reduce their vehicle travel as a result of carsharing. Mackett and Brown (2011) highlight the potential health benefits of shifting from automobile to active travel modes that carsharing can provide.


Costs are primarily related to startup and administrative costs of Carsharing organizations.


Table 3          Benefit Summary




Congestion Reduction


Reduces total automobile use.

Road & Parking Savings


Reduces total automobile ownership and use.

Consumer Savings


Reduces total transportation expenditures.

Transport Choice


Makes driving more affordable.

Road Safety


Reduces total automobile use.

Environmental Protection


Reduces total automobile use.

Efficient Land Use


Supports reduced automobile ownership.

Community Livability


Reduces total automobile use.

Rating from 3 (very beneficial) to –3 (very harmful). A 0 indicates no impact or mixed impacts.



Equity Impacts

Carsharing is generally available to anybody who meets basic requirements, although only people who live in neighborhoods with such services are likely to use it. Carsharing services may require subsidies to become established. Carsharing tends to increase equity by improving the mobility options of people who are transportation disadvantaged, and by allowing lower-income drivers significant financial savings compared with vehicle ownership (Bonsall 2002). It can help provide basic mobility under some circumstances.


Table 4          Equity Summary




Treats everybody equally.



Individuals bear the costs they impose.


May require subsidies to become established.

Progressive with respect to income.


Benefits lower-income drivers.

Benefits transportation disadvantaged.


Benefits some transportation disadvantaged people.

Improves basic mobility.


Improves occasional access to an automobile.

Rating from 3 (very beneficial) to –3 (very harmful). A 0 indicates no impact or mixed impacts.




Tends to be most effective and appropriate in higher-density, lower- and middle-income residential areas where there are good alternatives to driving (TRB, 2005). It can also be implemented in commercial centers and industrial parks. It may be particularly appropriate as part of Location Efficient Development and Car-Free Housing. Station cars are located at major transit stations, particularly in suburban areas where a car is often needed to reach destinations.


Table 5          Application Summary





Large urban region.


Federal government.


High-density, urban.


State/provincial government.


Medium-density, urban/suburban.


Regional government.




Municipal/local government.


Low-density, rural.


Business Associations/TMA.


Commercial center.


Individual business.


Residential neighborhood.




Resort/recreation area.


Neighborhood association.






Ratings range from 0 (not appropriate) to 3 (very appropriate).




Improved Travel Choice



Relationships With Other TDM Strategies

Carsharing supports and is supported by TDM strategies that increase consumers travel choices such as Transit Improvements, Ridesharing and Nonmotorized Transport, and by land use management strategies such as Transit-Oriented Development, Location Efficient Development, Car-Free Housing, Taxi Improvements and Campus Transport Management that create less automobile-dependent communities. Parking Management can allows residents who do not own an automobile to avoid paying for parking they do not need, which increases the consumer savings that result from Carsharing. Vehicle Costs describes the full costs of owning and operating an automobile, and the cost savings that can result from reduced driving. Huwer (2004) recommends integrating carsharing and public transit planning and marketing activities.




Local and regional government agencies and non-governmental organizations can help establish Carsharing organizations, and support complementary TDM strategies. Carshare programs can be incorporated into various types of developments. State and provincial governments can help overcome problems obtaining vehicle insurance. Businesses and cooperatives can provide Carsharing services.



Barriers To Implementation

A major barrier is the need to establish and maintain a critical mass of users (typically 30 members or more) in individual neighborhoods. Carsharing cannot develop until enough potential users in each area are familiar with the concept, understand how it can benefit them, and are willing to commit themselves to a Carshare organization. This often requires education and marketing. Carshare organizations often require seed money to become established.



Best Practices

DFT (2004) and TRB (2006) provide information on the development and management of carsharing organizations. Below are some best practices guidelines.


·         Structure Carshare organizations to meet the needs of the community. Larger cities can support much larger Carsharing organizations than smaller communities.


·         Implement Carsharing in conjunction with other TDM programs that improve transportation choices. It is particularly appropriate as part of transit encouragement efforts (Huwer, 2004).


·         Find ways to minimize administrative and overhead costs.


·         Provide a variety of pricing options to serve different types of users (infrequent, frequent, extended trips).


·         Structure rates to include both time and mileage fees, so the organization will not lose money with either a high-mileage trip during a short rental period, or low-mileage trip during a long rental period.


·         Develop partnerships with organizations that are interested in reducing vehicle ownership, promoting public transit use, or providing occasional vehicle access to a particular group.


·         Use innovative marketing.



Wit and Humor


Bob and Bill often rented a boat to fish on a lake. One day they caught thirty fish. Bob said to Bill, “Mark this spot so we can find it again tomorrow.”

The next day when they were driving to rent the boat, Bob asked, “Did you mark that spot?”

Bill replied, “Yes, I put a big ‘X’ on the bottom of the boat.”

Bob exploded in exasperation, “You fool! What if we don’t get the same boat today?”



Case Studies and Examples

The Transportation Research Board report, “Car-Sharing: Where and How It Succeeds” (TRB, 2005) includes many examples of Carsharing programs.



Paris Offers Drivers Electric Cars To Beat Pollution - For A Small Charge

, (


The Mayor of Paris is about to launch another novel scheme for fighting congestion and pollution: self-service cars. Bertrand Delanöe aims to start with 2,000 electric-powered vehicles that subscribers can drive off without booking at dozens of sites 24 hours a day and then leave anywhere in the city.


The so-called Automobiles-en-Libre-Service would greatly expand on similar small-scale services that exist in Europe and America. It is intended to complement the Vélib, the highly successful bicycle scheme that Mr Delanöe opened last July with 5,000 rental stations around the city.


The non-polluting cars, which will cost a few euros per hour to use, depending on mileage, will enable Parisians to carry passengers and loads on short trips without the bother and expense of hiring or running their own vehicles, says the mayor.


Just as the bicycle scheme was greeted with scepticism, doubts are being sounded over the viability of the Voiturelib’ – free car – as it is being dubbed. Denis Baupin, the Green Party deputy to Mr Delanöe, is worried that Parisians could drop their new-found cycling habit. “Vélib users shouldn’t be encouraged to take a car instead of a bike,” he said. Some experts are also questioning whether the cars, which would be many times more expensive to operate than bicycles, could be subsidised through advertising space, like the Vélib.


Mr Delanöe’s team calculates that one car will replace between five and ten private vehicles. Only 43 per cent of Paris households have vehicles and 95 per cent of them are parked at any moment. Mr Delanöe’s Vélib has turned Paris into an almost bike-friendly city, with the 20,000 machines having already been used for 11 million trips so far. Parisians and commuters relied on them during transport strikes in November.



Will Car-Sharing Networks Change the Way We Travel?

Anita Hamilton, Time Magazine (,28804,2094921_2094923_2106141,00.html).


Why would the world's largest car company partner with a tiny, little-known startup that could cannibalize its business by promoting car sharing instead of new-car buying? According to General Motors Vice Chairman Steve Girsky, the reason GM recently led a $3 million round of funding for RelayRides — one of a growing number of so-called peer-to-peer car-sharing services in the U.S. — is that "our business is really mobility, moving people around."


In other words, what matters most is that more people are driving around in GM vehicles, whether they own them or not. And San Francisco-based RelayRides, which encourages people to lend their personal cars to strangers for an hourly fee, has the potential to help in that regard.


Proponents of peer-to-peer car sharing say it could easily outstrip traditional car-sharing services like Zipcar over time. Whereas Zipcar either owns or leases the 9,500 vehicles in its fleet, peer-to-peer car-sharing companies like RelayRides, Getaround and newcomer JustShareIt (which launched this January in San Francisco) let people rent out their own autos to others at rates set by the car owners themselves. With more than 250 million vehicles already on the road today, that's an enormous pool to choose from. A 2010 report from Frost & Sullivan estimated that some 4.4 million people will join car-sharing networks by 2016 in North America.


Even so, RelayRides is likely to get the bigger boost from the partnership. GM is gearing up to begin promoting RelayRides to the five million active users of its OnStar in-vehicle security and navigation service this spring. RelayRides' members will be able to use their smartphones to find OnStar-enabled cars that are available for rent. Quick access to otherwise idle cars is car sharing's main draw. RelayRides founder Shelby Clark, a Harvard Business School graduate, says he came up with the idea for RelayRides on Thanksgiving Day 2008, when he had to bike 2.5 miles in bad weather to the nearest Zipcar, which he then drove to Western Massachusetts to celebrate the holiday with his family. "I was passing all these cars sitting on the side of the road and was thinking that the solution to my problem is not more cars. Cars we have. There are plenty of them." What's more, the average car is idle 92% of the time.


The idea makes business sense, too. Because peer-to-peer car-sharing services don't have to pay for the vehicles they rent out (or their upkeep), they have the potential for much higher profit margins than traditional car-sharing services, and can operate more like an online marketplace such as eBay.


"When you look at traditional car-sharing or rental services, what's interesting is how much of their money is drained out by fleet maintenance," notes Joe Kraus of Google Ventures, which is also a RelayRides investor. For Zipcar, which reported its first pre-tax quarterly profit in late 2011, fleet maintenance accounts for about 65% of its total expenses. And according to a 2011 report from AAA, the annual cost of owning and maintaining a new car for individuals ranges anywhere from $6,758 for a small sedan to $11,382 for a SUV. For many people, says investor Kraus, "their car is the largest depreciating asset that they own."


The big catch, of course, is whether Americans are really comfortable renting their personal cars to strangers. "Some people by nature don't want to share anything," concedes Bob Tiderington, GM's Manager of Business Initiatives, the unit that partnered directly with RelayRides. But the rise of collaborative consumption, in which people rent or lend everything from a hammer ( to a cocktail dress (at, suggests that enough people are comfortable with the idea to make the business model work. "We have moved into an era where access to good services and talent trumps the ownership of them," says Lisa Ganksy, author of The Mesh: Why The Future of Business is Sharing and a RelayRides advisor.


RelayRides does everything it can to make car sharing a little less scary for first timers. It inspects cars for safety before allowing them into its network and doesn't accept drivers with a major driving violation or more than three minor violations in the last three years. Its insurance policy includes $1 million in liability coverage (for injury to others or their vehicles) plus collision and theft coverage for up to the value of the rented vehicle, minus a $500 deductible paid by the renter. Because RelayRides' policy is separate from the owner's personal coverage, damage incurred by renters doesn't get reported to the owner's personal carrier. Twenty percent of the hourly rental fee goes toward insurance. (The car owner pockets about 65% of the total fee; and RelayRides gets about 15% — from which GM will take a cut for cars rented out via its OnStar system.)


Steve Morris of San Francisco says he has rented out his 2010 Ford Escape 68 times via RelayRides since March 2011, earning $2,860 through January of this year. "It takes a big chunk off the monthly payments," he says, adding that there hasn't been any significant damage to his black SUV, which he rents out for $9 an hour. "Every once in a while, I'll be like, Why is all this crap in the car? Why is my steering wheel sticky?' But that is the exception, not the rule," he says.


To give owners additional peace of mind, RelayRides' cars are equipped with GPS systems that keep tabs on their whereabouts at all times, and the ignition is disabled if someone other than the designated renter tries to start the car. Renters currently unlock the car by holding a card embedded with a RFID chip up to a card reader installed in the car window. (Once the OnStar program launches, cars can be unlocked via a smartphone app.) Both owners and renters can rate each other on the site, eBay style.


Such safety and security measures are essential when bringing a new idea to market that involves sharing what for many people is one of their most valuable possessions. "RelayRides is in the trust business. That is the essence of the business," notes RelayRides advisory board member Rob Chestnut, who is also the former head of trust and security at eBay.


For now, however, the biggest challenge that peer-to-peer car-sharing companies face is letting consumers know they exist. Only 5,000 people have signed up for RelayRides since it launched in June 2010, and the pool of cars to choose from isn't particularly enticing. In late January, offerings in San Francisco ranged from a 2005 Toyota Corolla for $5 an hour to a 2002 Cadillac Escalade for $12 an hour.

Read more:,28804,2094921_2094923_2106141,00.html #ixzz1mbD8wJFm



San Francisco Bay Area Station Car Demonstration

The San Francisco Bay Area Station Car Demonstration was a field test sponsored by Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and Pacific Gas & Electric from 1995 to 1998, using 40 prototype electric vehicles. The project had total funding of $1,486,000. It was implemented to determine the viability of EVs for making short, everyday trips in a variety of settings: between home and BART station; between BART station and work site; and pool cars used at worksites.


The station car was a two-seat battery-powered electric vehicle (EV) made by the Norwegian firm, Personal Independent Vehicle Company. Charging ports were installed at selected BART stations. During the demonstration, the station cars were driven 154,802 vehicle miles of travel (vmt) and produced 179,470 passenger miles of travel (pmt). For the participants, internal combustion engine automobile use decreased 94%. Use of BART by participants increased by 125,222 (56%) during the demonstration, providing approximately $18,464 in increased fare revenue.


Based on this evaluation of the Demonstration, which shows the potential of the station car concept, the authors recommend that BART proceed with more complex and technically challenging demonstrations and field tests. These tests should include electronics for vehicle access by multiple users and electronics for tracking the vehicles and communicating with the drivers. Reservation and billing systems should be tested. Other participants from the mobility industry (i.e., car makers, rental car agencies, and electronics firms) should be invited to participate in and contribute to these tests. In addition, market research is needed to determine how and where station car use can be maximized. A study by Nelson/Nygaard (2003) found that station cars increase BART ridership and fare revenue, and that it provides overall benefits to consumers and society.


Nerenberg, Bernard and Collins (2007) conducted an evaluation of the first 2.5 years of the San Francisco Bay Area Station-Car Demonstration. Many of the lessons learned from the experiment are discussed, as well as overall conclusions. The full evaluation is available through the Transportation Research Board at:



Carsharing Market Study (Andrew and Douma 2006)

A market study, based on analysis of North American carsharing, identified that the following neighborhood factors that contribute to successful carsharing programs:



Arlington Carsharing (

Analysis of carshare activity in Arlington, Virginia (a suburb of Washington DC) found the following:







Car Modal – New Service For Organised Passenger Transport In Private Cars (

This project will develop and demonstrate new vehicle use and ownership options, including carsharing, dynamic ridematching and collective taxi services using cell-phone and computer technology. This will enable travellers to match vehicles and travelers to specific destinations, with payment using direct cash transfer via cell-phone. This pilot project involves:

·         Designing the overall system.

·         Developing hardware and software for data and billing.

·         Building a customer organisation.

·         Marketing

·         Integration with public transport and traffic management centres.



Carshare Tax Reform (Bieszczat and Schwieterman 2011)

This study evaluates the size and impact of taxes currently being levied on carsharing, local, short-term vehicle rental services intended to substitute for private vehicle ownership.  It makes four principal conclusions: 1. Carsharing services provide substantial benefits, including external benefits that justify public policies to encourage such programs. 2. Carsharing is typically taxed over twice the prevailing rate of sales tax. Nationally, the average tax is 18% for one-hour carsharing reservations and 14% for 24-hour reservations, compared with just 8% general sales tax rates. 3. Taxes on carsharing are substantially higher than on other forms of consumer transport including airline, bus, rail, waterway, and private automobile. 4. The carshare tax premium can be reasonably estimated to add 17,844 private vehicles annually and increase greenhouse gas emissions by 48,727 tons. The results illustrate some of the unintended consequences of the rising car rental taxes. These findings justify tax policy reforms. Several major cities, including Boston, Chicago, and Portland (Oregon), have created definitions for neighborhood carsharing organizations that are used to provide waivers from certain taxes.



Carsharing Technology Improves City Fleet Efficiency (DeFalco 2013)

New York city is saving tens of millions of dollars through more efficient management of its 25,000 fleet vehicles — which includes everything from garbage trucks to police cars — by using carsharing technology. This is allowing the number of service garages to be reduced from 47 to 37. The system allows employees to reserve unused government cars by utilizing the same software as Zipcar, the popular car-sharing service. This is allowing a 20% reduction in total fleet vehicles.



Mobility Services for Urban Sustainability  

The MOSES (Mobility Services for Urban Sustainability) research program came to the following conclusions regarding the potential for Carsharing to improve urban transport.


The (European) city has a great potential for sustainable development. The proximity of functions, good networks of technical social and cultural infrastructure, and the concentration of know-how allow an urban lifestyle of lower consumption of resources and good access to all kinds of activities.

The quality of urban life is endangered. Economic activities became less harmful with the change from heavy industry to a service economy. Meanwhile, pollution and high noise levels are mainly due to the increasing level of transport.

Traffic is not only responsible for noise and pollution and congestion - with parking causing an increasing demand for space. With increasing level of car-ownership street space will become even more limited. Children, other pedestrians and cyclists have often not the necessary space to move around. As the flow of traffic and parked vehicles consume so much space, the quality of public space suffers: its functions as a social space – for encounters –  and as a cultural environment – carrying historical and local meaning – are being eroded.

Thoughtful solutions are required to manage the competition for public space between transport functions on one side and social and ecological functions on the other. Here lies the challenge to improve urban life quality for children, for families, for elderly, for disabled – for the entire community. The problems of public space are not yet fully recognised and no strategies have been developed at the necessary levels.

II. The opportunity
The modern service of Car-Sharing shows how to use the car in a better way. Car-Sharing gives access to a car – when required - in an easy way without the need to own one. The MOSES project has shown that Car-Sharing users can replace private cars and change their mobility patterns towards more use of environmentally friendly modes of transport. Important is the “pay as you drive” principle: since costs are directly related to how much you drive (variable costs).
Overall, the new philosophy of using instead of owning a car is a key element for a new mobility culture.

In Bremen, about 700 private cars have already been replaced by the service of Car-Sharing.
We see a big potential for European cities, where at least 500.000 private vehicles could be replaced by customer orientated Car-Sharing services. Without restrictions for individual mobility we can then regain public space for social and ecological functions.

We can reduce the costs for providing parking facilities. Especially underground parking is quite expensive – it can easily cost about 10 - 15.000 €  and more per parking space. With the provision of Car-Sharing, urban housing developments can become less costly as less parking space will need to be made available. The result is a better urban environment.

III. The MOSES insights
The MOSES project has identified a low awareness level as one of the key obstacles for the further exploitation of the Car-Sharing potential. Even in Germany, together with Switzerland a country with more than 15 years experience with Car-Sharing, only about 19% of the population can explain the basic elements of modern Car-Sharing. Much more information and marketing action is required to make decision-makers, developers and as well potential users more aware. It is recommended that Car-Sharing and its options should be included in local transport strategies, parking management policies, urban development plans and building codes.

Car-Sharing is best understood as supplement to Public Transport. Car-Sharing customers use Public Transport more frequently. You’ll find potential Car-Sharing customers especially in the group of regular Public Transport users. Joint ticket offers are an important element to increase the attractivity of Public Transport and of Car-Sharing. Season tickets for PT may include the customership for Car-Sharing for a special attractive tariff. The examples of Zurich, Bremen, Aachen, Hanover and other cities show that the customer-relation will be improved, the car-sharer is using Public Transport more often (for example also more often in off-peak hours) – as PT becomes much more a basic mode of transport. Car-Sharers are more likely to use annual season tickets.

For new housing developments, the service of Car-Sharing opens up the possibility to reduce the conventional provision of car-parking. This innovative option allows the reduction of construction costs – especially in the case of underground parking – or to set aside more  public space for social and ecological purposes. Until now, only few developers are aware about the options for better planning solutions with less costs but higher quality as it is less dependant on the provision of parking. Planning regulations (as in London) can directly integrate Car-Sharing into urban developments.

There is no need to reinvent the wheel. Setting off quality indicators for services is essential. Operators in cities that have not yet Car-Sharing services can build on the existing experience elsewhere. The key technologies are developed for providing an effective service, but they can be further developed and integrated. There are European operators, which offer service elements for new providers. Within MOSES the transfer of technology and know-how from Bremen to Belgium has successfully taken place.

Substantial support is required to get Car-Sharing out of its actual niche role and let it become mainstream. That means a further development of the service (e.g. through extension of the network of stations and interregional use, etc.), more co-operation with Public Transport and better integration into urban development.

IV. The decision levels
At the local level, Car-Sharing is a key element for sustainable transport plans. With Car-Sharing, there is a chance to reduce the number of cars without restricting individual mobility. The joint offer with Public Transport and the integration into urban development are key responsibilities at the local level.

The national level may develop a support programme (as in Italy) and set quality standards (as in Italy, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands). Eco-labelling for Car-Sharing can help to set high standards. In a number of countries amendments to traffic regulations are necessary to allow on-street Car-Sharing stations.

At the European level, there is a strong need for enhanced awareness work. It is essential to transfer the experience of Car-Sharing at an appropriate detailed level – especially to the new member states. This is an issue of European policy. As Car-Sharing is a key point for sustainable development, European research and demonstration programmes, as well as structural funds related to energy efficient transport and sustainable urban development should include an element about Car-Sharing. There is also the need to develop cross-border access for Car-Sharing customers.


Study of Car-Sharing Benefits In Québec, (

Carsharing in Quebec, Canada have 11,000 users and reduce annual CO2 emissions by 13,000 tons, and this could increase to 168,000 annual tons according to a study by the engineering firm Tecsult as part of an evaluation of urban mobility initiatives called Projet auto + bus, commissioned by an environmental agency (Conseil regional de l’environnement de Montréal) and the Communauto carsharing organization.


Tecsult assessed the carsharing market potential of 139,000 households. Considering that among those who subscribe to carsharing, some increase their use of a vehicle while others reduce it, overall users reduce their car travel by an average of 2,900 annual kilometers. Carsharing vehicles tend to produce less pollution than the fleet average. These factors together result in approximately 1.2 tons of CO2 emissions reduced annually per carshare user.


"If car-sharing’s market potential, as estimated by Tecsult, was attained, this service alone would lead to a reduction of CO2 emissions equivalent to 5.6 times the reduction targeted for alternative modes of transportation by the 2006-2012 Action Plan – Quebec and climate change, all without any costs for the taxpayer. Furthermore, 77% of car-sharing members in Quebec claim to have gotten rid of a vehicle or decided against purchasing one as a result of joining this service. Thus, car-sharing can have quite a structuring effect on the evolution of mobility. It would therefore be logical to support its development", says Mr Benoît Robert, CEO of Communauto.


Car-sharing users in Quebec are, on average, 40 years old, have a very high level of education and relatively high incomes. Although they do not have a personal car (90% of the users’ households), they do not feel limited in their mobility, since they use vehicles available in a “self-serve” fashion when necessary. Car-sharing users thus remain faithful to public transport, cycling and walking to meet their mobility needs.



References And Resources For More Information


James Andrew and Frank Douma (2006), Developing a Model for Car Sharing Potential in Twin Cities Neighborhoods, Transportation Research Board 85th Annual Meeting (; available at


Alice Bieszczat and Joseph Schwieterman (2011), Are Taxes On Carsharing Too High? A Review Of The Public Benefits And Tax Burden Of An Expanding Transportation Sector, Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development, DePaul University (; at


Peter Bonsall (2002), Car Share and Car Clubs: Potential Impacts, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds ( .


Bremen (2002), Public Transport and Car-Sharing, UITP and the European Moses Project (


Spencer Brown (2005), Car Sharing Networks: Role Of Car Sharing In Transportation Sustainability, University of Lund (; at


Sally Cairns, et al (2004), Smarter Choices - Changing the Way We Travel, UK Department for Transport ( This comprehensive study provides detailed evaluation of the potential travel impacts and costs of various mobility management strategies, including case studies of carsharing programs.

Car2Go ( is a global carshare program owned by Daimler AG. It offers smart cars for single or round trip use.

Carsharing Net ( provides information on carsharing.


Adam S. Cohen, Susan Shaheen, and R. McKenzie (2008), Carsharing: A Guide For Local Planners, PAS Memo, May/June, American Planning Association (; at


Cindy Costain (2012), Synopsis of Users’ Behavior of a Carsharing Program: A Case Study in Toronto, Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Vol. 46, No. 3, pp. 421 – 434.


Robert Cervero and Yu-Hsin Tsai (2003), San Francisco City CarShare: Travel-Demand Trends and Second-Year Impacts, Institute of Urban and Regional Development, University of California at Berkeley, Working Paper 2003-05 (


Francesco Ciari (2012), Estimation of Carsharing Demand Using An Activity-Based Microsimulation Approach: Model Discussion and Some Results, International Journal of Sustainable Transportation, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp. 70-84.


Goncalo Homem de Almeida Coerreia (2012), Optimization Approach to Depot Location and Trip Selection In One-Way Carsharing Systems, Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Vol. 48, No. 1, pp. 233-247.


Keith Crane, Liisa Ecola, Scott Hassell and Shanthi Nataraj (2012), Energy Services Analysis: An Alternative Approach for Identifying Opportunities to Reduce Emissions of Greenhouse Gases, RAND Corporation (; at

Beth DeFalco (2013), Zipcar technology saves NYC millions, New York Post, 22 October; at


DfT (2004), Making Car-Sharing and Car Clubs Work - A Good Practice Guide, U.K. Department for Transport (


Michael Duncan (2011), The Cost Saving Potential of a Carsharing in a US Context, Transportation, Vol. 38, No. 2, pp. 363 – 382.


Marcus P. Enoch and Jo Taylor (2006), A Worldwide Review Of Support Mechanisms For Car Clubs, Transport Policy (, Volume 13, Issue 5, pp. 434-443


Gina Filosa (2006), Carsharing: Establishing Its Role in the Parking Demand Management Toolbox, Thesis, Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, Tufts University; available at

Future of Car Sharing ( is a helpful and concise infographic that can be used to help understand the benefits of car share.


GIZ-SUTP (2014), Carsharing Services in Emerging Economies, Sustainable Urban Transport Project (; at


Ueli Haefeli, Daniel Matti, Christoph Schreyer and Markus Maibach (2006), Evaluation Car-Sharing, Interface Institut für Politikstudien (; at


Ulrike Huwer (2004), Public Transport and Car-Sharing - Benefits and Effects of Combined Services, Transport Policy, Vol. 11, No. 1 (, Jan. 2004, pp. 77-87.


IBI (2009), Parking Standards Review: Examination of Potential Options and Impacts of Car Share Programs on Parking Standards, City of Toronto, Ontario (; at


Innovative Mobility Carsharing Research (


Richard Katzev (2001), Effects of Car Sharing on Travel Behaviour: Analysis of CarSharing Portland's First Year, World Transport Policy & Practice, Vol. 7, No. 1 (


Jennifer L. Kent (2013), Puncturing Automobility? Carsharing Practices, Journal of Transport Geography, Vol. 32, pp. 86 – 92.


Kevin Krizek (2005), User Perspectives on Location Efficient Mortgages & Car Sharing, University of Minnesota, Minnesota Department of Transportation (; at


Scott Le Vine (2014), Predicting New Forms of Activity/Mobility Patterns Enabled By Shared-Mobility Services Through A needs-Based Stated-Response Method: Case Study of Grocery Shopping, Transport Policy, Vol. 32, pp. 60-68.


Todd Litman (2000), Evaluating Carsharing Benefits, Transportation Research Record 1702, pp. 31-38; at


Kristin Lovejoy, Susan Handy and Marlon G. Boarnet (2013), DRAFT Technical Background Document on Impacts of Carsharing Based on a Review of the Empirical Literature, California Air Resources Board (; at


Roger L Mackett and Belinda Brown (2011), Transport, Physical Activity and Health:  Present Knowledge and the Way Ahead, Centre for Transport Studies, University College London   (; at


Elliot W. Martin and Susan A. Shaheen (2010), Greenhouse Gas Emission Impacts of Carsharing in North America, Report 09-11 Mineta Transportation Institute (; at


Elliot Martin, Susan A. Shaheen, and Jeffrey Lidicker (2011), Impact of Carsharing on Household Vehicle Holdings: Results from North American Shared-Use Vehicle Survey, Transportation Research Record 2143, Transportation Research Board (, pp. 150–158; at; summary at


Adam Millard-Ball, et al (2005), Car-Sharing – Where and How It Succeeds, TCRP Report 108, Transportation Research Board (; at


Mobility Services for Urban Sustainability (MOSES) ( is a research and demonstration project supported by the European Commission supporting the "City of Tomorrow and Cultural Heritage" program.


Modo (2011), Developers For Modo: Incorporating Carsharing Into Your Next Development Can Increase Your Residents’ Quality Of Life And Enhance Your ROI, Modo Carsharing Services (; at


Victoria Nerenberg, Martin J. Bernard III and Nancy Collins (1999), Evaluation Results of San Francisco Bay Area Station-Car Demonstration. Journal of the Transportation Research Board, Volume 1666, 110-117. DOI 10.3141/1666-13.


Mehdi Nourinejad (2014), A Dynamic Carsharing Decision Support System, Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation, Vol. 66, pp.36-50.


Neslon/Nygaard (2003), Impact of CarSharing On BART, City CarShare (


Nelson/Nygaard (2009), Getting More with Less: Managing Residential Parking in Urban Developments with Carsharing and Unbundling, City CarShare (, funded by the Federal Highway Administration; at


Andrea Osgood (2010), On-Street Parking Spaces for Shared Cars, Access 36 (;  Spring 2010, pp. 8-13; at


Charles Rivasplata, et al. (2012), Residential On-Site Carsharing And Off-Street Parking Policy In The San Francisco Bay Area, Report 11-28 Mineta Transportation Institute (; at


Susan A. Shaheen and A.P. Cohen (2009) Carsharing Update, World Streets, New Mobility Agenda (; at


Susan A. Shaheen and A.P. Cohen (2013) Innovative Mobility Carsharing Outlook: Carsharing Market Overview, Analysis, and Trends. Transportation Sustainability Research Center, University of California Berkeley.


Louiselle Sioui (2012), How Carsharing Affects the Travel Behaviour of Households: A Case Study of Montreal, Canada, International Journal of Sustainable Transportation, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp. 52 – 69; at

Timon H. Stasko (2013), “Carsharing in a University Setting: Impacts on Vehicle Ownership, Parking Demand, and Mobility in Ithaca, NY,” Transport Policy, Vol. 30, pp. 262-268; at


Sarah Stephen (2011), CuseCar – Community Car-Sharing Program: Car Sharing Lessons Learned, New York State Department of Transportation (; at


TRB (2005), Car-Sharing: Where and How It Succeeds, TCRP Report 108, Transportation Research Board (; available at


Carsharing on Wikipedia ( keeps an active list of carshare organizations.


Zipcar ( is the world’s largest and most extensive carsharing network worldwide. It is owned by the Avis Budget group and offers vehicles for round trips.

This Encyclopedia is produced by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute to help improve understanding of Transportation Demand Management. It is an ongoing project. Please send us your comments and suggestions for improvement.




Encyclopedia Homepage

Send Comments


Victoria Transport Policy Institute

1250 Rudlin Street, Victoria, BC,  V8V 3R7,  CANADA

Phone & Fax 250-360-1560

“Efficiency - Equity - Clarity”