Following Setbacks for Car2Go, What's the Future of Carsharing?

Car2Go has pulled out of several cities recently, making even carsharing's most ardent believers wonder if the business model is built to last.

1 minute read

November 26, 2016, 5:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Car2Go

Richard Eriksson / Flickr

David Levinson follows up on the news that Car2Go is departing the Twin Cities by revisiting a post from 2013 in which he wrote that carsharing is the mode of the future. In that post, Levinson "basically made the claim that this is a network-effects driven business, for this to work, the access costs must be low, generating demand, which will increase vehicle availability (as suppliers respond to demand), which will lower access costs, which will increase demand."

In Minneapolis, however, the Car2Go fleet spent as much time idle as private cars, according to reports. In the case of Minneapolis, Levinson believes "[that] access costs were insufficiently low to get this positive feedback network effect going here. Perhaps a greater investment would have juiced the market, I am not sure. Gas prices are exceptionally low, the economy is at the peak of expansion, so people readily buy and drive private cars." 

The fact that Car2Go has pulled out of other cities (though it's growing in some) might mean that the carsharing model is having trouble fitting in with the current market of mobility options, and it's unclear whether Levinson's prediction about the durability of carsharing will prove prescient.

Hat tip to Angie Schmitt for sharing the Levinson article

Wednesday, November 23, 2016 in Transportist

View of Mount Hood at golden hour with Happy Valley, Oregon homes in foreground.

Clackamas County Votes to Allow ADUs, Residential RVs

County officials hope the zoning changes will help boost the housing supply in the region.

June 18, 2024 - Mountain Times

Single-family homes in a suburban neighborhood in Florida.

New Florida Law Curbs HOA Power

The legislation seeks to cut down on ‘absurd’ citations for low-level violations.

June 16, 2024 - The Guardian

Aerial view of intersection in New York City with yellow cabs and zebra crosswalks.

Planners’ Complicity in Excessive Traffic Deaths

Professor Wes Marshall’s provocatively-titled new book, "Killed by a Traffic Engineer," has stimulated fierce debates. Are his criticisms justified? Let’s examine the degree that traffic engineers contribute to avoidable traffic deaths.

June 13, 2024 - Todd Litman

Close-up of two children sitting on edge of swimming pool with their feet in the water.

Beating the Heat: Expanding Access to Swimming Pools

The swim season for Los Angles County public pools has been extended, with swim facilities open for five months to provide relief from the hot weather.

15 minutes ago - ABC7 Eyewitness News

Scooters Portland

Report: Municipal Fees and Taxes Hinder Shared Micromobility Adoption

City taxes and fees on shared bikes and scooters are, on average, much higher per mile than similar taxes on cars.

1 hour ago - Streetsblog USA

Wildfire burning at night on hillsides next to Lake Elsinore, California.

California Faces Early Surge in Wildfires

Summer is just beginning, but wildfires in California have already burned more than 90,000 acres.

2 hours ago - Los Angeles Times

City Planner I

Department of Housing and Community Development

City Planner II

Department of Housing and Community Development

City Planner Supervisor

Department of Housing and Community Development

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.