Shared ride services in North America: definitions, impacts, and the future of pooling

Authors: Susan Shaheen and Adam Cohen Date: July 11, 2018 Abstract: Shared ride services allow riders to share a ride to a common destination. They include ridesharing (carpooling and vanpooling); ridesplitting (a pooled version of ridesourcing/transportation network companies); taxi sharing; and microtransit. In recent years, growth of Internet-enabled wireless technologies, global satellite systems, and cloud computing – coupled with data sharing – are causing people to increase their use of mobile applications to share a ride. Some shared ride services, such as carpooling and vanpooling, can provide transportation, infrastructure, environmental, and social benefits. This paper reviews common shared ride service models, definitions, and summarises existing North American impact studies. Additionally, we explore the convergence of shared mobility; electrification; and automation, including the potential impacts of shared automated vehicle (SAV) systems. While SAV impacts remain uncertain, many practitioners and academic research predict higher efficiency, affordability, and lower greenhouse gas emissions. The impacts of SAVs will likely depend on the number of personally owned automated vehicles; types of sharing (concurrent or sequential); and the future modal split among public transit, shared fleets, and pooled rides. We conclude the paper with recommendations for local governments and public agencies to help in managing the transition to highly automated vehicles and encouraging higher occupancy modes. View...

Can Sharing Economy Platforms Increase Social Equity for Vulnerable Populations in Disaster Response and Relief? A Case Study of the 2017 and 2018 California Wildfires

Authors: Stephen Wong, Jacquelyn Broader, and Susan Shaheen Date: June 2020 Abstract:  Ensuring social equity in evacuations and disasters remains a critical challenge for many emergency management and transportation agencies. Recent sharing economy advances – including transportation network companies (TNCs, also known as ridehailing and ridesourcing), carsharing, and homesharing – may supplement public resources and ensure more equitable evacuations. To explore the social equity implications of the sharing economy in disasters, we conducted four focus groups (n=37) of vulnerable populations impacted by California wildfires in 2017 or 2018. To structure these data, we employed the Spatial Temporal Economic Physiological Social (STEPS) equity framework in an evacuation context. We contribute to the literature by: 1) summarizing the focus groups and their opinions on the sharing economy in evacuations; 2) capturing wildfire evacuation obstacles through the STEPS transportation equity framework; and 3) linking STEPS and focus group results to explore the future potential of shared resources. Using STEPS, we also expand our shared resource exploration to 18 vulnerable groups. We found that all focus groups were highly concerned with driver availability and reliability and the ability of vehicles to reach evacuation zones, not necessarily safety and security. Each group also expressed specific limitations related to their vulnerability. For example, individuals with disabilities were most concerned with inaccessible vehicles and homes. Using the STEPS framework, we found that while multiple vulnerable groups could gain considerable benefits from shared resources, 10 of the 18 groups experience three or more key challenges to implementation. We offer several policy recommendations to address equity-driven planning and shared resource limitations. View...

CarLink—A Smart Carsharing System

Authors: Susan Shaheen Date: September 1999 Editor’s Note: The author of this piece is today intensely involved in the second stage of her professional interest in carsharing. Starting several years ago, she began to look into as part of her doctoral research in transportation studies at an American university. Several years later, here she is as entrepreneur and manager behind an ambitious carsharing project. This is a report on the first months of their experience and goals for the future. View PDF....

Carsharing Continues to Gain Momentum

Authors: Susan Shaheen, PhD Date: July 2006 Abstract:  With auto ownership and fuel costs rising, people everywhere are seeking alternatives to private vehicle ownership. Carsharing (or short-term vehicle rentals) provides such an alternative through hourly rates and subscription-access plans, especially for individuals and businesses in major cities with good access to other transportation modes, such as transit and carpooling. The principle of carsharing is simple: individuals gain the benefits of private vehicle use without the costs and responsibilities of ownership. People involved in this typically join an organization that maintains a fleet of cars and light trucks in a network of locations, such as lots at transit stations or in neighborhoods or businesses. Most carsharing operators manage their services with some degree of modern computer-based technologies, which can include automated reservations, smart card vehicle access, and real-time vehicle tracking. For nearly 20 years, there has been growing worldwide participation in carsharing. Some 330,000 individuals—nearly two thirds of whom are in Europe—now share at least 10,500 vehicles as part of organized carsharing services (See Table 1 and Figure 1). Many of these operations began in Switzerland and Germany in the late 1980s and later spread to 12 other countries on the continent and to the United Kingdom. In the 1990s, North America and Asia also started professional carsharing activities. More recently, three carsharing initiatives were launched in Australia starting in 2003. View...