Skip to Content
Streetsblog Chicago home
Streetsblog Chicago home
Log In
Streetsblog Network

How Car Sharing Gradually Weans Users Off Driving

A number of studies have attempted to put a figure on the reduction in vehicles that results from car sharing services. Research from UC Berkeley's Susan Shaheen goes a step further and quantifies how car sharing reduces driving. Even though most customers didn't own their own cars before subscribing, Shaheen found that the overall impact of car sharing is to lower all customers' vehicle mileage by about a quarter.

New research shows that car-sharing users progressively reduce their use. Photo: Wikipedia
New research shows that car sharing users progressively reduce their driving. Photo: Wikipedia
false

Chris Smith at Portland Transport spotted a write-up of Shaheen's research in the SF Bay Guardian, and it bolstered his belief that car sharing reduces driving because it makes the cost of each trip more transparent to users:

This article looks at car sharing, attempting to figure out how many cars are removed from our streets, and what the impact on VMT is.

The consensus is 9-13 cars per sharing vehicle (compared to claims of up to 32 cars).

But the really interesting finding is that there is substantial VMT reduction even though many car-sharing customers are from car-free households. The conclusion is that over time you learn how to use the car less and less, as you get better and better at using other modes.

That matches my personal, anecdotal experience. I think a big part of that is because when each car-share trip becomes an incremental expense, the pricing signals encourage you to think harder about the alternatives.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Biking in the Upstate explains how bike planning can help with "town-gown" relations. Urban Cincy announces that Cincinnati's form-based code zoning update earned a top prize from the Congress for New Urbanism. And the State Smart Transportation Initiative reports on the regulations that local governments are implementing in response to the rapid rise of the ride-sharing industry.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog Chicago

FOIAed letter shows Ald. Hopkins asked CDOT to scrape out dashed bike lanes from Dearborn in posh Gold Coast

The alder says constituents in this affluent neighborhood feel the new street layout is "very problematic and unsafe", but the same configuration has worked fine in other communities.

July 13, 2024

CTAction: It’s silly for CTA to update timetables to reflect “more scheduled rail service” when it can’t deliver its current schedule

The grassroots transit advocacy group says there's no point in advertising more service on the new timetables when the CTA isn't actually providing it.

July 11, 2024

Transit advocates voiced support for 9 Ashland bus extension, transportation committee approved it

A full City Council vote is needed to finalize the project, and the next Council meeting is next Wednesday, July 17.

July 11, 2024
See all posts