Good News on Car Sharing

Car sharing networks that allow the vehicle to be returned to any location were found to have the impact of removing seven cars for each rented car in San Diego in a three-year study released July 19.

2 minute read

July 27, 2016, 11:00 AM PDT

By Irvin Dawid

Car Share

Jeff Whyte / Shutterstock

A new study, "Impacts of car2Go on Vehicle Ownership, Modal Shift, Vehicle Miles Traveled and Greenhouse Gas Emissions: An Analysis of Five North American Cities," by University of California, Berkeley Transportation Sustainability Research Center researchers Elliot Martin and Susan Shaheen, looked at the effects of car sharing in San Diego, Vancouver, Calgary, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.

"The study focused on car sharing offered by car2Go because that company allows people to pick up a car in one place and drop it off elsewhere, unlike some other car share providers that require cars to be picked up and dropped off in the same place," reports David Garrick for The San Diego Union-Tribune. "That allows commuters to use the network to eliminate the 'last mile' problem.


Car sharing is a key element of the city’s ambitious climate action plan, which aims to cut carbon emissions in half by 2035.

 Greater VMT reductions were found in Vancouver, Calgary, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

Increase sustainability by renting electric vehicles?

Car2go made San Diego the only North American city with an all-electric fleet when it launched service here five years ago, increasing the local network’s role in preventing pollution and greenhouse gases.

But company officials decided this spring that an electric model was unsustainable and switched all of their vehicles to gas-powered in May.

Last mile solution?

Interestingly, a post last year about Car2Go's expansion to Queens, N.Y asked, "Last Mile Solution or Congestion Nightmare?

"Some experts question how efficient Car2go will be at improving outer-borough mobility," reported Matthew Flamm for Crain's New York Business. "Richard Barone, director of transportation programs for the Regional Plan Association, thinks the service could help with the 'last mile' problem often found outside Manhattan, where people can live a long way from the nearest subway stop."

There's no reason to think that the results in New York City would be any different from the other four cities studied.

“Our exhaustive, three-year research effort into one-way carsharing reveals that car2go vehicles result in fewer privately-owned vehicles on the road, fewer vehicle miles traveled and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions,” said Susan Shaheen, Co-Director of TSRC in a UC Berkeley, Institute of Transportation Studies news release.

Participation from car2go and its members, the largest free-floating one-way carsharing service in North America, gave us unprecedented access and insight into how this kind of innovative mobility service is impacting North American cities.

Look for the results from another study by the Transportation Sustainability Research Center on the sustainability of transportation network (ride hailing) companies like Uber previously announced here.

Car2Go is a division of Daimler, a German multinational automotive corporation perhaps best known for its Mercedes-Benz vehicles.

Hat tip to Metro L.A. Transportation Headlines

Sunday, July 24, 2016 in The San Diego Union-Tribune

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