Smart CitiesSmart TransportSustainability

Promoting car sharing: the Second Sustainability Challenge

By 7th December 2018 No Comments

By: Daniela Navas

Car sharing is definitely changing the mobility industry. In 2015, there were about 7 million car sharing users worldwide, according to Statista. It is expected that more than 36 million people around the world get into the car-sharing community by 2050.

A study shared by Statista shows that by 2014 Germany had by far the highest number of vehicles owned by car-sharing companies, followed by France and the United Kingdom. In France there were 3,900 car-sharing vehicles in 2014 and in the United Kingdom 3,000 in the same year. But there are still some countries in which these numbers did not even reach a thousand car-sharing vehicles, such as Spain and Denmark.

This illustrates a huge challenge for the industry. If we want to build sustainable cities, we must as well reduce the environmental impact of our transportation, and in order to do that, we need lower the amount of people riding by themselves. Many studies have shown that car-sharing decreases air pollution and energy dependency, which increases the quality of life of millions of people.

There are many benefits that come with car-sharing, but here you have three that we consider key to promote this type of mobility:

  1. It saves money. As you might already know, owning a private vehicle has many attached costs, such as gasoline, oil changes, parking, insurance, maintenance. Car sharing spreads those charges among quite a few people, so there is not just one person covering them. Anyone can reap the benefits of private cars without having costs and responsibilities associated with car ownership.
  2. It positively affects collective health. Less cars on the road reduce pollution. Polluted environments can lead to fatal cases of illnesses and kill 1.7 million children every year, according to an article shared by the Indian edition of Entrepreneur.

This article focused on research which found that, each car used for one-way car sharing can replace as many as 11 cars from the streets, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by around 13 metric tons annually.

But it does not just help our physical health, but also, it could impact our mental health. As stated in the study held by the professors Louis-Philippe Beland and Daniel Brent, from the Louisiana State University, traffic and mental health are linked. In their research paper, they measured the psychological costs of traffic jams in Los Angeles County, specifically as they relate to crime. Combining traffic and police data, they found that unexpected high traffic lead to an increase in domestic violence.

  1. It takes cars off the road. Since many people stop using their own car because they find a new alternative that is cheaper and positively influences their health, many of them end up selling their cars, which takes them to use alternative transportation, such as car-sharing, biking or walking.

In many countries, the promotion of car sharing represents a huge challenge that needs to be addressed by government, companies and citizens as soon as possible. At the end of the day it will benefit all of us, not only physically, but also mentally. Do you want to be part of this collective health revolution through car sharing? Get on board!

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