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Teaser, summary, work performed and final results

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - STARS (Shared mobility opporTunities And challenges foR European citieS)


The overall objective of STARS is to close the gap between the potential benefits of shared vehicle services that are expanding their offer in urban areas and their real impacts in terms of congestion mitigation, environmental footprints and social inclusion, that are mediated...


The overall objective of STARS is to close the gap between the potential benefits of shared vehicle services that are expanding their offer in urban areas and their real impacts in terms of congestion mitigation, environmental footprints and social inclusion, that are mediated by both individual preferences and social innovation patterns. with future innovations and technology developments related to mobility sharing services.
STARS is achieving the above goal by integrating knowledge, expertise and research methods from transport engineering, environmental psychology and economics, thanks to the unique blend of different competences and kinds of organisation within the consortium. The role of car sharing in improving mobility in European urban areas and providing new business opportunities to the automotive sector will be assessed through an integrated co-modality approach, where the impact of car sharing on other travel modes (public transport, active means, private cars) will be quantified. To this effect, both business as usual and rupture mobility scenarios will be studied, the former referring to future projections of actual trends concerning the diffusion of car sharing in EU countries, and the latter to an assessment of its full potential in presence of appropriate policy actions aimed at maximising social benefits.
These policy actions will be informed by the definition of a decision support toolkit that will allow the identification of the best strategy to implement a car sharing service (kind of service to promote, rough estimation of the market dimension, accompanying measures for competing travel modes, business opportunities for different economic actors) as a function of the socioeconomic characterisation of the area, of the related mobility lifestyles, of the policy context and of the related Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning measures and priorities. Both guidelines (in the form of what-if scenarios) and practical examples will be provided.

Work performed

Three technical Workpackages have been completed so far, whose main results can be summarized as follows:
• Complete knowledge base on existing car sharing systems. Virtually all car sharing operators that were active in the European countries at the end of 2017 have been considered (about 200 systems). In addition, we have thoroughly investigated the active car sharing systems about their operational characteristics, their users and the journeys these users make on average in 20 cities. Eventually 56 car sharing organisations out of 12 different countries participated to the online survey.
• Proposal and validation of a car sharing multidimensional classification. Using the category of car sharing as a pivot variable, multiple crosstabs were created to investigate the relationship of different types of operators with a number of dependent variables. This ultimately resulted in six different profiles of car sharing systems.
• Car sharing trends in a Business as Usual scenario. The above mentioned car sharing organisation were asked how, in their opinion, the overall car sharing market and more specifically their business will evolve in the coming years. This allowed to depict the likely evolution of car sharing in absence of major policy actions.
• The role of car sharing for industry beyond «market shares». The variety of organisational arrangements for car sharing across the EU was investigated, ranging from platform-based peer-to-peer initiatives of a pure market type, to the major state-led interventions such as Autolib in Paris. Attempts to gain sufficient scale (e.g. Autolib; DriveNow) are struggling to find the right balance between utilisation rates and the level of service needed.
• Car sharing and key trends concerning electrification and autonomous driving. Car sharing accounts for a very small fraction of the total fleet of vehicles in use. However, car sharing fleets had a higher proportion (approx. 10%) of electric cars on their fleets than is found in the market overall (typically 1-2%). Overall the long-term vision of the car industry is in favour of car sharing, especially if autonomous vehicle technologies could be improved.
• Car sharing users and non users. People’s perception of self-efficacy and subjective norms are the main predictors of car sharing usage. Firstly, how people perceive the usefulness of car sharing services for their routines is the best predictor of intention to use it. The second strongest predictor is the perception of a social network which also approves and has positive attitudes towards car sharing.
• Mobility styles. Non-users of car sharing can be sorted in two groups. While the first group prefers the private car to car sharing, the second is open to the idea of car sharing but seems to have no practical need for it. Present car sharing users show more diverse attitudes. One of three identified mobility styles among them has a low level of car use and a high environmental awareness. Two other styles are characterized by a high rate of car ownership and high frequency of car use.
• Appeal of different car sharing services to car sharing conversion. Roundtrip car sharing variants can replace private cars technically. But from the viewpoint of most non-users, free-floating car sharing is more attractive. The ability of these variants to provide one-way trips and spontaneous bookings appeals to non-users intuitively. Conversion to other car sharing variants seems to be strongly connected to the presence of role models.

Final results

The knowledge base over all variants of car sharing practices and their uneven distribution within the European Union has prompted a number of businesses, research organisations, services operators and policy makers to approach the project and learn more about the available information, which was perceived as very useful to pursuit their respective goals.
On the other hand, the available information on different car sharing business models is useful to distinguish the impacts on the automotive market from those on the whole industry and can provide guidance in the likely future strategies of the industry within such context.
As an interim impact of the project, updated forecasts of future evolutions of car sharing services in a business as usual scenario are now available and useful to inform policy actions wishing improve the technical, social, environmental performances of their transport systems by exploiting the potentialities of these new services.
Social innovation patterns are rather independent from past car sharing adoption trends. Therefore, it emerged that it is vital to consider such patterns within the study of mobility cultures and lifestyles to appreciate their effect of car sharing. This has deep implications in the way car sharing can be promoted, since social innovation and technology adoption are only a necessary but not a sufficient condition to a full implementation of a sharing mobility vision.

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