Authors: Ingrid Ballús-Armet, Susan Shaheen, PhD, Kelly Clonts, David Weinzimmer
Date: December 2014
Abstract: Peer-to-peer (P2P) carsharing is an innovative approach to vehicle sharing in which vehicle owners temporarily rent their personal automobiles to others in their surrounding area. P2P carsharing belongs to the larger sharing economy, an economic model premised on the notion of collaborative consumption as opposed to ownership. This study examines current public perception of P2P carsharing and potential market characteristics through an intercept survey conducted in the San Francisco Bay Area. Three hundred respondents from 14 locations in San Francisco (N=150) and Oakland (N=150) were polled on their existing attitudes towards and perceptions of classic carsharing, peer-to-peer carsharing, and the sharing economy. The survey results indicate that there remains a low awareness of P2P carsharing, with under 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 P2P carsharing, citing liability and trust concerns as primary deterrents. Those who drive almost every day were less open to renting through P2P, 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 P2P carsharing—60% of San Francisco respondents and 75% of Oakland respondents without vehicle access would consider renting a P2P vehicle. The top three reasons for using P2P carsharing include: convenience and availability, monetary savings, and expanded mobility options. Further outreach and education are needed to raise awareness of this mobility innovation.