Intelligent Transportation Technology Elements and Operational Methodologies for Shared-Use Vehicle Systems

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Authors: Matt Barth, Michael Todd, and Susan Shaheen

Date: October 01, 2003


As an innovative mobility solution, there has been significant interest and activity in shared-use vehicle systems. Shared-use vehicle systems (i.e., carsharing, station cars) consist of a fleet of vehicles that are used by several different individuals throughout the day. Shared-use vehicles offer the convenience of a private automobile and more flexibility than public transportation alone. In recent years, varying degrees of intelligent transportation system technologies have been applied to shared-used systems, providing better manageability and customer service. Many shared-use vehicle service providers today include some degree of advanced technologies (e.g., online reservations, vehicle tracking, smartcard access) in their operations. At present, there is a developing need for interoperability among shared-use vehicle service providers (e.g., smartcard access among carsharing organizations) and transit operators (i.e., transit fare collection via smartcards). Interoperability will likely result in higher customer satisfaction and use, leading to greater market penetration. Similarly, some degree of standardization will likely unfold for overall operational techniques (e.g., online reservations and insurance policies), customer interactions, and to some degree vehicle interfaces. However, shared-use vehicles systems are still a relatively new mobility concept, thus an industry-wide standardization approach is still premature. Nevertheless, this paper attempts to identify many of the important issues that will play a significant role in interoperability discussions among shared-use vehicle providers and the development of industry standards in the future. This paper focuses on key elements of intelligent shared-use vehicle system operations, describing many of the tradeoffs that have been encountered during the pioneering stage of shared-use vehicle system developments. Key topics include vehicles, user/system interactions, user/vehicle interactions, and system operations.

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October 1, 2003