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For trips that are difficult to make on foot, by bike or by public transport, carsharing is a more sustainable alternative to the privately owned car. The field of carsharing is still developing and growing quickly, as the leading cities and countries in Europe continue to refine their services and share their best practices with others. In this e-update, we present the many developments since our previous e-update on carsharing, with a special focus on the European project momo. We define carsharing as a membership based service that offers access to vehicles that are also used by other people (in the UK, this is often referred to as car clubs). Carsharing is not the same as carpooling (also called ridesharing or liftsharing or in the UK often referred to as carsharing).



Spreading carsharing in Europe: the momo project*

*Based on a text by Michael Glotz-Richter and Michael Frömming (

How an innovative mobility service is further developed
Today, there are more than 400.000 carsharing users in Europe. Especially in Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and in the UK (London) carsharing is very well developed. However, there are still many cities in Europe that do not (yet) possess any carsharing service. This unbalanced situation gives the European carsharing project momo (more options for energy efficient mobility) an additional value - as it has partners from the Czech Republic and from Greece, being newcomers in the carsharing development, and partners with a lot of carsharing experience. The momo project wants to achieve at least 20.000 additional carsharing users in the partner sites. The leading showcases are Bremen, Brussels and a number of other Belgian cities because of their active involvement of the Public Transport operators and their experiences in transferring carsharing practice to "newcomers".

Benefits of carsharing
Carsharing has a number of very positive impacts on the urban environment and on travel behaviour:
- Carsharing vehicles replace four to ten private cars - an important step to reclaiming street space for better purposes than car parking.
- Carsharing makes it possible to choose the most adequate vehicle for your trip. As smaller cars cost less than larger ones, downsizing is stimulated, which leads to the reduction of fuel consumption and CO2-emission.
- The pay-as-you-drive principle makes you more aware of the costs of an individual trip - which encourages the use of more sustainable modes.
- In conjunction with a modern fleet of low emission cars, the modal shift leads to a significant reduction of transport-related CO2-emissions (about 200 - 290 kg CO2 per active user per year).

The momo project urges the EC to take more actions to exploit the full potential of carsharing for all European cities. Extrapolating the success of existing carsharing experiences to the EU25, Europe could realise a reduction of CO2 emissions of about 850.000 tons and the removal of more than 500.000 private cars from urban street space, reclaiming more than 2500 hectares of urban space. Moreover, carsharing seems to fit very well in the newly emerging urban lifestyle. Latest trends among young urban dwellers show that the car is no longer "hip", carsharing is "cool" and big cars are rather for elderly men - sometimes called "Viagra in chrome" (Source: Timescout 2008 Trend Study (DE)).

The Bremen showcase
The city of Bremen, Germany, is a forerunner in the field of carsharing. Today there are more than 6200 carsharing users in Bremen (appr. 547.000 inhabitants). Carsharing has had an important impact on the parking demand in inner city areas, substituting about 1500 private cars. To obtain a similar effect by building garages, an investment of 25 to 40 million euros would have been necessary! In 2009, the municipality developed a "Carsharing Action Plan". This plan defines the target of reaching at least 20.000 carsharing users in 2020 (four times more than in early 2009). Elements of this action plan are a network of on-street inner-city carsharing stations ("mobil.punkt"), enhanced awareness work (e.g. campaign "Would you buy a cow for a glass of milk?") and integration into urban development, public transport offers and fleet management. Bremen was selected to present its experiences with carsharing at the EXPO 2010 in Shanghai. Have a look at the carsharing information website they developed for the visitors of the EXPO.



A booming business

The fact that carsharing is a growing market, is proven by the many carsharing companies that are going multinational, like Greenwheels, Cambio, Mobility Carsharing International and Connect by Hertz. In the USA, operator Zipcar has grown substantially. It has gone oversees by merging with the UK operator Streetcar and is now in the process of becoming a public company, quoted on the stock exchange.



Integration with public transport

© 2011 Daimler AG. All rights reserved.

In 2009, the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) has created the Seamless or Combined Mobility Platform, as a successor to the former umbrella organisation European Car Sharing (ECS) and the UITP Carsharing Platform. This platform underlines the need for public transport providers to form alliances with taxi, bike and carsharing providers as to allow customers to travel easily from door-to-door without using a private car.

Carsharing has been found to increase public transport use (find some statistics here). That is why plenty of public transport providers have engaged in partnerships with carsharing providers, ensuring carsharing stations in the vicinity of public transport stations, or developing joint subscriptions or discounts. See for instance this bus+car, train+car and taxi+car offer from the Canadian operator Communauto. You can find some tips for setting up a fruitful partnership in UITP's Bremen Paper.

In the Netherlands, company carsharing provider Mobility Mixx (NL) saw the importance of the integration of carsharing and public transport. It expanded its offer to become a full-range mobility service provider, including carsharing, hire cars, public transport reservations, park and ride, trip advice and mobility budget management.



Building alliances with cities and companies

prohibited parking space

For public and private fleet owners (municipalities, companies) carsharing can be the perfect solution to reduce fleet size and save on maintenance costs. More and more of them engage in partnerships with local carsharing operators. In some cases, the shared vehicles are exclusively available to the employees of the municipality or company during office hours. In the evening and weekends, the same vehicles can be reserved by other members of the carsharing service. See for instance the example from the cities of Berkeley (USA) and Vancouver (Canada), in this collection of newspaper articles. Municipalities can also play an important role in providing on street parking or other parking support to carsharing operators. In Austin, Texas, Car2go made a "no-cost deal" with the City of Austin. In return for free parking in any legal parking space, the city gets free use of car2go for city employees. (more on car2go below)



Easy-to-use and clean vehicles

© 2011 Daimler AG. All rights reserved.

As both the offer and the market for carsharing grow, a lot of technological progress is made to improve the carsharing service. Now that online reservation applications are a common good, smartphone apps are on the rise to check availability and make reservations (see for instance the screenshots from the American AutoShare app). To improve both user friendliness and safety, new technologies are being developed to access the cars. Most shared cars are opened with a smart card (e.g. AutoShare Keycard), but in some locations you can open a shared car with your cell phone ( e.g. City Car Club in Finland, Sweden and Estonia). For carsharing operators, advanced software is available to manage every aspect of the carsharing service (e.g. Mobisys by Mobility Switzerland).

There is also a major trend for introducing clean vehicles into the shared cars fleet. According to a recent research report, one out of five carsharing vehicles will be electric by 2016. The NICHES+ project developed some guidelines for using electric vehicles in city carshare schemes. The region of Paris, France, leads the way with its large-scale car sharing system called Autolib' (FR), to be operational in October 2011 (EN information here). The region imposed the revolutionary condition that all 3000 Autolib' vehicles should be electric cars. Another important asset of the Autolib' system will be the one-way service: as in the bikesharing scheme Velolib', Autolib' users do not have to return their vehicle to the station they took it from. They can drop it off at any Autolib' station.



Flexibility pays off

© Crown copyright, 2010 -

The one-way service is one of the key features of the exceptionally successful provider Car2go. In Ulm, Germany, where Car2go was launched, 90% of the carsharing trips are one-way. Today, 10% of Ulm's population (170.000) is a Car2go customer. It is very popular among young people, 60% of customers being under 36 years old. Car2go offers a lot of flexibility, as it has a substantial fleet of 200 vehicles, making a reservation is not necessary and you pay per minute of car use. Parking is easy too: the vehicles can be parked in any public parking space that offers unlimited parking. The cars can also be parked on city-managed car parks and parking spaces, without charge or time limit. In addition, a large number of parking spaces in selected privately owned car parks are exclusively reserved for Car2go drivers, again without a charge. After a successful expansion to the USA (Austin, Texas), Car2go is now moving to Hamburg, Germany (more information).



Private carsharing

© 2011 Daimler AG. All rights reserved.

Up until now, this e-update has discussed carsharing organised by professional operators. Another rapidly growing trend is for private individuals to share a car within a carsharing group or to hire out their own car to others. It is called private, personal or peer-to-peer carsharing. The momo website features a fact sheet on private carsharing. In Belgium, the Flemish centre for private carsharing Autopia (NL) allows individuals to subscribe and receive support to start a private carsharing group. Once the group is formed, Autopia offers services like an online reservation calendar, a specialised insurance policy, templates for contracts and regulations, calculation tools to determine prices, etc. Some cities support Autopia members by offering free parking spaces, free parking cards or free Autopia membership. In the UK, Whipcar is an online platform for hiring out or renting a privately owned car. In the USA, peer-to-peer (p2p) carsharing is rapidly emerging too, with the establishment of services like RelayRides. Read more about private carsharing in this blogpost.



Stay tuned

© 2011 Daimler AG. All rights reserved.

Do you want to keep yourself informed of the latest developments in the field of carsharing? Bookmark these pages:

- Carsharing.US, an excellent American blog on recent carsharing developments. See for instance this overview of the biggest developments in 2010.
- The North-American Carsharing network blog and its list of carsharing links.

And here are some additional resources and case studies for further reading:

- Momo Fact Sheets in English, German, Finnish, Dutch, Greek, French and Czech.
- Momo carsharing calculator: calculate if carsharing is a good alternative to your private car
- CIVITAS II Policy Advise Note on carsharing and carpooling
- Here are some nice promotional videos that explain the benefits of carsharing and how it works: Momo video (several languages), Mobility Carsharing video, and ZipCar video.
- The Moses guide: Keys to car-sharing (2005)
- The World carshare consortium
- UITP's page on carsharing
- The Carsharing Association, founded in January 2011, is an association of 18 American and Australian carsharing organisations that adhere to a common definition of carsharing, a code of ethics and certain standards of practice.
- National carsharing networks or platforms like Carplus in the UK (see the Car Clubs section of their website) and "Bundesverband CarSharing" in Germany.
- Carsharing for students in The Netherlands
- Press release October 2010: Car2go service comes to Hamburg, Germany



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