Carsharing: the future of mobility

With the sharing economy in full swing and disruptive technologies inspiring the emergence of new business models, car sharing is set to become a key aspect of future mobility.

In fact, a recent study forecasted the car share industry to maintain annual growth of 16.4% over the next 7 years, significantly reducing car ownership rates. 



So, what exactly is car sharing?

Let’s face it, owning a car can be a hassle. Especially if driving becomes an occasional need, rather than a daily necessity. 

This helps explain why car sharing is becoming increasingly popular around the world, with car sharing schemes now operating in over 1,100 cities and 26 countries worldwide.

Car sharing is a broad term used to reference new automotive business models which are set to revolutionise how we’ll get around in the future. Essentially, car sharing can be classified into the following three segments:

1. Stationary car sharing

2. Free-floating car sharing

3. Peer-to-peer car sharing

Stationary car sharing, better known as car rental, is a kind of car sharing we’re already familiar with. Generally located at airports or business hubs, this kind of car sharing targets holidaymakers and businesspeople. As car rentals are often expensive and inconvenient, this form of car sharing is not expected to impact private car ownership rates or revolutionise the car sharing model. But don’t worry, the next two certainly will.



Free-floating car sharing is gaining popularity in Australia. Go Get in Sydney and Brisbane and Flexicar in Melbourne are examples of free-floating car sharing, allowing users to book cars on an hourly basis via their website or app. Once booked, you simply unlock the car using a digital keycard, jump in and drive off. These ‘quick-lease’ cars are generally located in popular CBD areas meaning they’re a perfect alternative for inner-city goers who don’t want to give up the freedom of owning their own car. Yup, that means day trips to the coast are still on the cards.



Car sharing can also be  ‘peer-to-peer’. ‘Peer-to-peer’ car sharing is where an individual rents their car out to users for a short period of time via online platforms such as Car Next Door or Drive My Car. While this form of car sharing is only a niche market at present, it is expected to rise over the next decade due to Blockchain technology– so be on the lookout!



What makes car sharing work?

Technology is the driving factor which could upturn the dominance of private car ownership. Efficient booking systems, accurate and fair billing, good car security and reliable location mapping are essential to ensuring that car sharing is a viable business model. Having a digitally automated process makes car sharing flexible, convenient, reliable and most importantly, like driving your own vehicle and less like a car rental.



Existing transport infrastructure is another key factor for the success of car sharing. Car sharing allows users to rely on other transport options such as public transport, walking or cycling for everyday mobility and provides shared cars as an alternative option for longer trips, or when you’re lugging a few extra things around.

The increase of high-rise inner-city living in Australia is allowing the car sharing model to thrive due to a lack of parking spaces. With reserved car spaces for car-share vehicles in popular shopping centres, petrol stations, and business hubs, car share is becoming an increasingly attractive model for inner-city residents.


Why is car sharing the future of mobility?

Car sharing is thriving in Australian cities despite the lack of support from transport policy, mainly due to the extrinsic benefits. For inner-city residents who don’t drive their vehicles often, car share presents a cheaper option than owning a car.



More importantly, an uptake of car share would see cities having fewer cars on the roads, which would ease congestion and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


With these benefits in mind, it’s no surprise that car sharing is set to profoundly shake up the transport industry. While for the majority of us car sharing may seem like a distant reality, it is predicted that one in every three kilometres driven will be ‘shared’ by 2030.

I guess that means that I’m going to have to get used to sharing.



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