Friday, October 28, 2016

Recent German Studies Provide Detailed Look at Carsharing Members and Impacts

I've spent some time recently digging into the wealth of content on the German Car Sharing Association (Bundesverband Car Sharing) web site.  Willi Loose and staff are doing some great work for their members on research and policy issues.  

On June 24 of this year they held a workshop in Gottingen Germany, "Current Results on the Relief Effect of CarSharing Offers" (I hope that title doesn't make carsharing sound like a stomach ache remedy in German.)  I wish I understood German well enough to make it worth my while to be there.  BCS provides a good summary (in German) of the conference, on which I've used the magic of Google Translate and further condensed below.

Carsharing: More Space to Live - How CarSharing Benefits Cities, Willi Loose, Bundesverband Car Sharing, 2015
They surveyed 3,500 customers of station-based carshares in 12 cities; concentrating on well-developed carshare systems in inner cities to show "best case" results.  Carshare members reduced car ownership by 61.9% compared to 12 months before joining; and another 18% after joining.  This is the first confirmation that for most people joining carsharing is the result of a decision-making process that takes place long before one actually signing up for membership.  In the city areas included in the study, each carshare replaced 8 to 20 private vehicles, depending on the area.  Not surprisingly the high rates were in the densest parts of the cities. (Dave comment: I hope that most carshares don't take this as permission to start promoting "up to 20 cars replaced" since most city government partners are bound to be disappointed that their local carshare hasn't solved their parking problem in a year or two.  In North America I prefer to continue to quote Dr. Susan Shaheen's more conservative "9 to 13 cars replaced" numbers.)

Bar 1 - Auto ownership 12 months before joining
Bar 2 - Auto ownership at the time of joining
Bar 3 Auto ownership at the time of the survey
Bar 4 - Overall auto ownership by non- carsharing members

WiMobil: Claudia Nobis, Institute for Traffic Research, 2016
Studied DriveNow (one-way) and Flinkster (round trip) in Berlin and Munich.  DriveNow customers younger age.  Flinkster 72% car free, 15% attribute going car free to carsharing; DriveNow 43% car free, 45% claim carsharing cause. 45% Flinkster members are also DriveNow members.  Many DriveNow members not aware of Flinkster option.   DriveNow customers drive their own cars more frequently.  Overall net benefit of one-way carsharing due to higher membership numbers.

EVA-CS 2015
My colleagues at team red Germany studied 4 carshare services in Munich, 2 free floating; 2 round trip for the City of Munich to help inform changes in parking regulations for carsharing.  Each type of carshare appealed to customers with different preferences for mobility and automobiles.  Free floating appeals to car owners since it provides the option to make a type of trip (one-way) they can't do in their own vehicle.  Public transport users see the value of both types of carsharing.  Although benefits of one-way are not as strong as for round trip systems, the overall benefit of one-way is greater since these systems attract far more members than round trip carshares.  (Dave comment: Yay! I'm glad to finally see research that puts to rest my initial concerns about the reduced impact of one-way carsharing.)

Multimo - Robert Follmer, infas, 2016
Multimodal study about the effects of carsharing.  Identified the following carsharing membership segments:
Pragmatic - 40%
Price sensitive - 40%
Environmentalists - 12%
Comfort Oriented - 11%
Multi-modal lifestyle - 10%

Mr. Follmer characterized these as "liberal intellectuals" and that they were 66% of all carshare members; but this group is only 10% of overall households, So he said, "Whether free-floating or station-based car sharing - you are all fishing in the same, rather small pond."  To expand carsharing, he said, companies must seek new target groups.

Destination Distance of Carsharing Trip — Smallest circle "in neighborhood", next bigger circle "city center", 3rd circle "around my city",  outer circle "outside of my city".