Peer-to-Peer Carsharing: Exploring Public Perception and Market Characteristics in the San Francisco Bay Area, California

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Authors: Ingrid Ballús Armet, Susan Shaheen, Kelly Clonts, David Weinzimmer

Published: January 27, 2014

Abstract: Peer-to-peer carsharing is an innovative approach to vehicle sharing in which vehicle owners temporarily rent their personal automobiles to others in their surrounding area. Peer-to-peer carsharing belongs to the larger sharing economy, an economic model premised on the notion of collaborative consumption as opposed to ownership. This study examined public perception of peer-to-peer carsharing and potential market characteristics through an intercept survey conducted in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. Three hundred respondents from 14 locations in San Francisco (n=150) and Oakland (n=150), California, were polled on their existing attitudes toward and perceptions of classic carsharing, peer-to-peer carsharing, and the sharing economy. The survey results indicate that there remains a low awareness of peerto-peer carsharing, with fewer than 50% of San Francisco respondents and 25% of Oakland respondents having heard of the term. Approximately 25% of surveyed vehicle owners would be willing to share their personal vehicles through peer-to-peer carsharing, citing liability and trust concerns as primary deterrents. Those who drove almost every day were less open to renting through peer-to-peer, while those who used public transit at least once per week expressed a greater interest in it. Overall, the results of this study indicate considerable interest in peer-to-peer carsharing: 60% of San Francisco respondents and 75% of Oakland respondents without vehicle access would consider renting a peer-to-peer vehicle. The top three reasons for using peer-to-peer carsharing are convenience and availability, monetary savings, and expanded mobility options. Further outreach and education are needed to raise awareness of this mobility innovation

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July 21, 2015