Car sharing allows people to have access to a car without having to own one. It encourages more environmentally friendly modes of transport by allowing people to use cars only when they need to.
Members of a car-sharing scheme might pay $15 per month for membership, and $6 per hour of use, which together would cover petrol, insurance, registration, cleaning, repairs, and capital depreciation.
Cars are kept in a designated parking space within walking distance of member's homes or workplaces, and can be booked for as little as an hour. (Contrast conventional car-hire companies where cars are not accessible within walking distance of most homes, and must be hired for at least a day.)
Members book online or by phone, then use their membership smartcard to get into the car.
Car sharing can complement other transport modes. One might walk, cycle or use public transport for most journeys, and use a share car for tasks where the other modes become difficult, eg carting goods to a number of dispersed locations within a limited period of time.
Car sharing can complement car ownership. One might own a small car for most uses, and access a larger car or van as needed.
Car sharing is more viable in denser, inner-city suburbs with good public transport, and short journeys to major centres, particularly where car owners must park in the streets or in nearby, parking-garages. It is less viable in lower density, outer-suburbs with poor public transport, longer journeys, and undercover parking with most houses.
Car sharing allows a city to get by with fewer cars and fewer car-parking spaces per person. To the extent that it encourages alternative transport modes, it also reduces traffic density, freeing up more road space, reducing air, water and noise pollution, and making the roadside environment generally more pleasant.
Car sharing is attractive to local councils who wish to reduce the clutter of cars parked on the streets and reclaim the roadspace for other uses. Many councils are willing to provide free parking spaces in prime locations for car sharing schemes.
If car sharing was sufficiently widespread within a city or across a country, then local car sharing schemes could combine into a network, allowing members to pick up a car in one location and drop it off in another.
Car sharing should be integrated with other transport modes. Car-share parking spaces next to public transport stops and secure bicycle parking, allows travelers to combine a variety of modes into one journey, with a single smartcard providing access to all modes.
Car sharing allows people to use environmentally friendly modes of transport (walking, cycling, public transport) more often, and only use cars when needed, because the fixed access cost (the membership fee) is lower, and variable use cost is higher than conventional ownership (where insurance, registration and much of the capital depreciation is independent of kilometres travelled.)
Urban Ecology Articles
A Draft Proposal for a Car Share Scheme for Adelaide. Joan Carlin, Urban Ecology Australia. - Proposal: That a CarShare scheme be set up in Adelaide - in the first instance in the South West corner of the city. Similar schemes operate in many European and US cities and now in Sydney and in Melbourne.
Sharing Cars. Earthbeat. ABC. 2004.11.13 - Imagine having access to a car whenever you need it, but without the hassle of registration, insurance and having to find regular parking space. That's the benefit of a car share system. You pay a monthly fee and an hourly rate when you use a vehicle, and about six or seven cars can service 100 people.
Car Sharing Revs Up. Sydney Morning Herald. 2004.11.16 - Car-sharing schemes are poised for a rapid growth in popularity in Australia, a US expert has predicted.
Parking Plan Says it's Good to Share. Tim Dick. Sydney Morning Herald. 2004.11.1 - The residential areas surrounding Sydney's city have the most sought after, fought over and expensive parking spots in the country. But the City of Sydney is now considering reserving some of these precious bitumen rectangles for a growing band of car sharers.
Beyond the Car Pool, Communal Cars. Dan Silkstone. The Age. 2004.10.11 - Melbourne is about to join a global transport movement that offers the convenience of car ownership at a fraction of the cost and will also help to reduce traffic and parking congestion.
Australia's First Car Sharing Service Launched. Technology Newsletter. DOTARS. 2003.6 - Residents of Inner-West Sydney have been given an innovative alternative to private car ownership - a fleet of smart-card enabled vehicles parked in and around Newtown that they can book and use on an hourly basis.
Car Sharing - An Overview. Australian Greenhouse Office. 2004.12 Although in medium and high-density urban areas many people walk, cycle and use public transport, there are occasions when they still see a need for some car travel. This is the 'mobility gap' that car sharing seeks to fill. Most car sharing organisations (CSOs) start as small, local, not-for-profit operations supported by public funds and largely run by people with a commitment to enabling their clients to reduce car use and avoid the high fixed costs of private cars. The transition into economically viable businesses has been difficult for most of the CSOs that have chosen to operate commercially.
Share a Car. Australian Conservation Foundation. 2004.10 - Much of the environmental impact of cars comes from their manufacture and maintenance, so it's a good idea to avoid buying one. Joining a car-sharing program does involve a cost (an annual fee plus your usage costs), but can be much cheaper than owning and running your own car. The RACV estimates that the weekly operating costs of a car range from $100 for a light class car to $270 for a 4WD (that includes purchase, operating, financing and depreciation costs). Refer: RACV - Driving Your Dollars
Sharing Cars. Guy Dauncey. 2004.8 - Vision of a transport network stretching across Canada where a single smartcard lets you ride public transport, access share bicycles and share cars, or get a bicycle repaired, in a future where the high price of oil discourages using a car for every transport task.
Re-Inventing the Private Car: Changing Personal Mobility in the 21st Century. Change Design. 2004.12 - In Bremen there is a high level of interconnectivity between the various modes of transport, converging in transport information stands dotted across the city. These stands combine taxis, cycling and car sharing at one point, calculating fares and suggesting the most efficient trip based on real time information.
About Car Sharing. moses - Air pollution, noise, the threat of accidents and the endless rows of parked cars and pavements blocked by sleeping traffic: the notion of the private car as a symbol for freedom and independence becomes more and more clouded by environmental hazards and the loss of urban space for social or ecological use. Reducing individual motorised travel is one of the major challenges on the way to a sustainable future in our cities.
Innovative Mobility Research - Car Sharing and Station Cars - Carsharing and station car services provide organized short-term (hourly or daily) vehicle access at key activity centers, such as transit, neighborhoods, and employment centers. Members of a carsharing organization, for instance, pick-up and return vehicles at shared-use lots (e.g., transit stations, neighborhood lots, and employment centers). The dominant shared-use vehicle model is urban neighborhood carsharing in settings with strong transit networks (i.e., urban metropolitan areas). Other models include employer-based carsharing, links to transit, and home-based carsharing at apartment complexes or housing developments.
Dynamics in Behavioral Adaptation to a Transportation Innovation: A Case Study of Carlink - A Smart Carsharing System (PDF). Susan A. Shaheen - Carsharing provides the potential to reduce the costs of vehicle travel to the individual as well as society. When a person owns a car, much of the cost of owning and operating the vehicle is fixed. The variable cost of using the owned vehicle is relatively low, and thus the driver has an incentive to drive more than is economically rational. In contrast, payments by carsharing participants are closely tied to actual vehicle usage. A carsharing system in effect transforms the fixed cost of vehicle ownership into variable costs.