Shared mobility is arguably the most rapidly growing and evolving sector of the Sharing Economy. One-way and peer-to-peer carsharing, as well as ridesourcing, are amongst the many new entrants in the short-term, as-needed shared transportation milieu. Is shared mobility an opportunity or a distraction on our journey towards more sustainable and equitable transportation systems?
Key recommendations to advance urban sustainability:
Cultivate a shift toward integrated mobility planning that considers a suite of mobility options, with public transportation as its foundation, together with land use planning in order to foster car reduced (and free) lifestyles.
Facilitate the expansion of ridesourcing and carsharing into suburban municipalities in order to fill transit gaps and foster first / last mile integration.
Explore the use of ride-splitting (e.g., UberPool and LyftLine) to scale carpooling, particularly for community to work.
Support the expansion of electric vehicles in carsharing fleets by providing grants for EV purchase, public charging stations, and favouring EVs in municipal fleets.
Address multiple barriers to the participation of low-income people and vulnerable populations in shared mobility and explore partnerships between public, non-profit & private actors.
What to watch out for:
The rebound effect - for example, people purchasing new cars in order to rent them out through peer-to-peer carsharing companies like RelayRides and therefore adding more cars to the road rather than reducing car ownership and use.
Ridesourcing in downtown locations as there are indications that it is replacing transit, walking and cycling trips and inducing new vehicle trips.
High-level conclusions that hide more nuanced findings, e.g., that carsharing users both increase and decrease their transit usage.
Getting distracted - for example, the debate about whether ridesourcing and taxis are more efficient is less important than shifting people into more sustainable modes.
Thank you to The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation for supporting this roadmap and project as part of Cities for People. The LGSE roadmap was developed and written by One Earth.