Shared mobility Shared mobility, explained
Shared mobility refers to the behaviour of people sharing various forms of transportation, such as cars, bikes, taxis and buses. The aim of encouraging shared mobility is to reduce carbon emissions and ease congestion on public roads, all the while, reducing travel costs for individuals.
For an overview of the different terminology associated with shared mobility, check out our shared mobility glossary.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at the dynamics of shared mobility:
The benefits of shared mobility
According to Statista, transportation accounts for 24 percent of the world’s CO2 emissions. With fewer vehicles on our roads, carbon dioxide levels will reduce, providing us with cleaner air and a healthier environment.
Shared mobility can also help solve our urban density problems, to the benefit of commuters and cities themselves. Travel times will be quicker on public roads, car parking will be freely available, and cities will be able to reclaim land to be used for other purposes.
In the U.S. alone, the average driver loses 99 hours a year to traffic, costing $1,377 US per person, annually. As individuals, shared mobility will save us money through ridesharing initiatives, lowering our travel expenses and the associated costs of owning a car.
The European Federation for Transport and Environment estimates that carshare schemes remove up to 15 private vehicles from the road. As a result, our journeys will become more sociable as we meet new travel companions and spend more time traveling with friends, family and co-workers.
With carsharing, individuals benefit from having the use of a private vehicle, without the costs and responsibilities of ownership. We can use the vehicle when we want and only pay for the journeys we make, with carsharing companies paying for fuel, maintenance, repairs and insurance.
The concept of carsharing started in Switzerland in 1987 and used a station-based model where vehicle use was recorded on paper and access to keys were gained through lockboxes. The concept has since grown worldwide with initiatives growing rapidly in China and the U.S., in particular.
According to shared mobility service Movmi, as of 2019, there were 236 carshare operators in 3,128 cities worldwide, each contributing to a more sustainable urban environment. Today, carshare initiatives use subscription-based models, making use of smartphone technology for bookings.
For an overview of how modern carsharing services work, check out this video from carshare company Ubeeqo:
Whereas carsharing shares the vehicle itself, ridesharing is about sharing the route. It works in a similar way to carpooling, where the driver picks up passengers en route to nearby destinations.
One of the largest contributing factors to traffic congestion is simply the number of vehicles on the road. With ridesharing, the number of cars being used for daily commutes can be reduced, as the number of passengers per vehicle increases.
However, in order for carsharing to have a positive impact on congestion, it needs to be embraced by commuters en masse, otherwise the number of vehicles on the road may actually increase as the number of ridesharing companies grow.
The concept of ridesharing dates back as far as 1605, when horse and carriage was used to taxi people around cities. Ridesharing as we know it today came to prominence around 2010, when UberCab was launched alongside its mobile app. Today, some of the biggest players in ridesharing include Uber, Lyft and DiDi.
The adoption of bike sharing schemes is on the rise globally. The market is predicted to grow at a rate of 12.5 percent from 2018 through to 2026. Similar to carsharing, travelers access bicycles on an as-needed basis. Depending on the stipulations of the company, the bikes can be used for one-way trips, roundtrips, or within certain communities, like universities.
The concept of bike sharing began in Amsterdam in the 1960s and was revived in the mid-‘90s in Copenhagen. The bike docking system that’s widely used today was first adopted in France in 1998. With the rise of technology, bike sharing programs have evolved so that people can reserve, collect and drop off bikes easily.
The future of shared mobility
Today, there are more shared mobility options than ever before, and the future will undoubtedly be led by advancements in technology. As we outlined in our recent post on the internet of mobility, our ecosystems are on the verge of a digital transformation, driven by interconnected technologies. As travelers and transportation systems continue to become more integrated, the future of shared mobility will focus on customer experience, all the while, contributing to a healthier planet.
As blockchain technology and machine learning continue to take hold in the automotive industry, our daily commutes will change drastically. It won’t be long until we see Level 4 and Level 5 autonomous vehicles on our public roads.
We’d also expect to see shared mobility companies and public transit working in partnership to make shared mobility more accessible and inclusive. As the global population rises, traffic congestion and CO2 emissions will continue to increase. If shared mobility is embraced on a large scale, our cities can become cleaner and more liveable.