Saturday, March 09, 2013

24 Hours of car2go Movements


At last someone has put together a video showing the movements of car2go vehicles in a city.   It's fascinating and revealing about how people use one-way/on-demand carsharing systems.

What it shows to me is that one-way carsharing has almost nothing to do with traditional round-trip carsharing (okay maybe a little overlap) but is serving a completely different type of trip.  Arguably, living up to the slogan that Daimler used early on - "personal public transportation".

Take a look:

One thing you can get an impression about is that almost all the vehicles seem to get used.  Try this experiment: keep your attention fixed on one car or a cluster of cars in an area as the day progresses and you'll see that (almost) all of them eventually get used.  Amazing, when you think of it.

The other thing I find interesting is about the video is about the distribution of "demand" for the vehicles.  There's are constantly changing areas of the city that have no vehicles for a period of time, sometimes hours, and then a vehicle will show up and get used.   What are people in those neighborhoods doing when there are no vehicles available - are they walking long distances? cycling? riding the bus? taking their own car (if they have one)? foregoing the trip altogether?  It's a situation I've experience using car2go in Portland, so it's probably a bit of "all of the above"

This display only shows the starting and ending points of a trip, not the route, so there's no way to know how far the trips were, but it's a good guess that when you're paying by the minute most people will take pretty direct routes to their destination.

And if you can't get enough here's another day using an enhanced display that suggests the beneficial area served by each vehicle:

Since the initial posting, there are several additional visualizations: Toronto (which uses stations rather than floating parking), Calgary and Seattle.

Thanks to QVIRI for putting this video together and VanCity Buzz for bring these to my attention.  Videos like this of public bike system usage have been around for years, and car2go has always made it's API open, so it's great to finally have this look at one-way carsharing at last.