Worldwide Carsharing Growth: An International Comparison

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Authors: Susan Shaheen and Adam Cohen

Date: November 11, 2007

Abstract: Carsharing (or short-term auto use) provides a flexible alternative that meets diverse transportation needs across the globe, while reducing the negative impacts of private vehicle ownership. Although carsharing appeared in Europe between the 1940s and 1980s, it did not become popularized until the early 1990s. For nearly 20 years, there has been growing worldwide participation in carsharing. Today, carsharing operates in approximately 600 cities around the world, in 18 nations, and on four continents. Malaysia is operating a carsharing pilot, with a planned launch in 2007. Another eight countries are exploring carsharing. This paper is based on 33 carsharing expert surveys collected internationally. Cost savings, convenient locations, and guaranteed parking were identified as the most common motivations for carsharing use worldwide. The authors provide an international comparison of carsharing operations, including similarities and differences. In the future, continued growth is forecast, particularly among new and emerging market segments, such as businesses and universities. Growth-oriented operators will continue to account for the largest number of members and fleets deployed worldwide. In addition, higher energy costs; limited and expensive parking; ongoing diffusion of operational knowledge, benefits, and supportive technologies; and greater demand for personal vehicle access in developing nations will impact carsharing’s future growth and expansion.

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November 11, 2007

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