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U.S. Shared-Use Vehicle Survey Findings on Carsharing and Station Car Growth

Susan Shaheen

Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series from Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis

Abstract: Shared-use vehicle services provide members with access to a vehicle fleet for use as needed, without the hassles and costs of individual automobile ownership. From June 2001 to July 2002, there was a survey of 18 U.S. shared-use vehicle organizations on a range of topics, including organizational size, partnerships, pricing, costs, and technology. Although survey findings demonstrate a decline in the number of organizational starts in the last year, operational launches into new cities, membership, and fleet size continue to increase. Several growth-oriented organizations are responsible for most of this expansion. Several factors were explored that challenge shared-use vehicle growth, such as high capital investment (or start-up costs), dramatic insurance rate hikes, and scarcity of cost-effective technologies. Although the findings of early niche markets are encouraging, the ability of this emerging sector to actualize its total environment, economic, and social goals may be limited without the collective support of private industry (e.g., automobile manufacturers, insurance providers, technology producers); public agents (e.g., transit and governmental angencies); and shared-use vehicle programs. Indeed, public-private partnerships and cooperation among shared-use vehicle providers may play a key role in addressing insurance and technology costs and ensuring the long-term viability of this market.

Date: 2004-08-31
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