Impact of Carsharing on Household Vehicle Holdings: Results from North American Shared-Use Vehicle Survey

Reference Type:

Journal Article

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Published In:

Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board

Year:

2010

Author(s):

Elliot Martin
Susan A. Shaheen
Jeffrey Lidicker

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Carsharing has grown considerably in North America during the past decade and has flourished in metropolitan regions across the United States and Canada. The new transportation landscape offers urban residents an alternative to automobility, one without car ownership. As car-sharing has expanded, there has been a growing demand to understand its environmental effects. This paper presents the results of a North American carsharing member survey (N = 6,281). A before-and-after analytical design is established with a focus on carsharing's effects on household vehicle holdings and the aggregate vehicle population. The results show that carsharing members reduce their vehicle holdings to a degree that is statistically significant. The average number of vehicles per household of the sample drops from 0.47 to 0.24. Most of this shift constitutes one-car households becoming carless. The average fuel economy of carsharing vehicles used most often by respondents is 10 mi/gal more efficient than the average vehicle shed by respondents. The median age of vehicles shed by carsharing households is 11 years, but the distribution covers a considerable range. An aggregate analysis suggests that carsharing has taken between 90,000 and 130,000 vehicles off the road. This equates to 9 to 13 vehicles (including shed autos and postponed auto purchases) taken off the road for each carsharing vehicle.