The National Academies

TCRP B-26 [Completed]

Carsharing: Where and How It Succeeds

  Project Data
Funds: $249,997
Research Agency: Nelson/Nygaard
Principal Investigator: Adam Millard-Ball
Effective Date: 10/10/2003
Completion Date: 10/9/2005

Communities face increasing traffic and parking congestion as well as a need to improve air quality. One way to address these problems is to find alternatives to private automobile travel. Carsharing is an innovative mobility option that allows individuals to pay for and use automobiles, --on an as-needed basis-- through membership programs. Carsharing enhances mobility, with potentially favorable environmental, social, and economic impacts by combining the flexibility and convenience of the private automobile with many of the advantages of public transportation.

In recent years, a number of carsharing organizations have experienced rapid growth in membership and geographical coverage. In Europe, there are now more than 100 carsharing services with more than 120,000 members. Mobility CarSharing Switzerland, the largest of the European services, currently provides 1,800 cars at 900 locations for about 55,000 customers. Although carsharing activity in the United States is still low, there are currently nearly 20,000 U.S. members of carsharing services.

While several academic studies have been completed on carsharing, research is needed to develop comprehensive guidance for transit agencies, government officials, and other interested parties who are considering implementation of carsharing services. Research is also needed on the potential role of carsharing in enhancing mobility and on its potential environmental, economic, and social impacts.

The objective of this project is to provide guidance to assist transit agencies, government officials, and other interested parties in developing successful carsharing services in transit and other settings. The research should (1) investigate the current and potential roles of carsharing in enhancing mobility as part of the transportation system; and (2) assess the environmental, economic, and social impacts of carsharing.

Status: The project was completed in the Summer of 2005.

Product Availability: The final report has been published in the regular TCRP series as TCRP Report 108: Car-Sharing: Where and How it Succeeds.

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