Carsharing is an innovative shared mobility strategy that allows for short-term access to a shared vehicle fleet without the costly burden of vehicle ownership. A rapidly emerging model within carsharing is one-way carsharing (also known as point-to-point carsharing), which does not require users to return a vehicle to the same location from which it was accessed, thus allowing users to make one-way trips.
Technology has played a major role in the growth of one-way carsharing, including mobile apps, keyless vehicle access, in-vehicle and mobile global positioning system (GPS) receivers, and electric vehicles (EVs). These technologies allow for self-service vehicle access on a 24-hour basis for short-term trips. Yet, one-way carsharing presents unique challenges, such as vehicle rebalancing and parking management.
Over the past five years, one-way carsharing has played a growing role in cities. One-way carsharing may prove to be a suitable complement to roundtrip carsharing, public transit, and other shared mobility modes. One-way carsharing can continue to grow through supportive public policies, use of mobile technologies, and its unique cost structure and flexibility or convenience.
The impacts of one-way carsharing, however, are only beginning to be documented. Future research should evaluate one-way carsharing’s potential impact on vehicle miles/kilometers traveled (VMT/VKT), auto ownership, and emissions in urban areas, as well as its impact on cities, parking, and first- and last-mile connections to public transit.
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