Summary: Carplus Annual Survey of Car Clubs (ie. Carsharing)

Carplus annual survey of car clubs

Today we are summarizing the 2017 Carplus Annual Survey of Car Clubs (which is the UK equivalent to carsharing services), which was completed by over 2,900 round-trip car club members and over 1,100 flexible car club members in London from a membership of over 193 thousand. You can read the full report here.

This 2017 Carplus survey reports on how round-trip and flexible car clubs help to:

  • Improve air quality across London
  • Help normalize electric vehicles (EVs)
  • Reduce traffic congestion levels
  • Facilitate sustainable population growth
  • Reduce private car ownership and use

Impacts of Car Clubs on Car Ownership

Impacts of car clubs on car ownership from carplus annual survey of car clubs

The 2017 survey from Carplus represents many key findings, the first of which is that car clubs impact car ownership.

Car ownership remains low amongst longer term members:

  • 49% of respondents who were longer-term members owned at least one car before joining, falling to just 23% afterwards. Longer-term members are those who have been members for at least six months – many have been members for a number of years.
  • 14% of respondents had sold or disposed of a car in the 12 months prior to completing the survey (24% new members, 11% longer-term members). One in four stated that car club membership was the main reason or a major factor in their sale / disposal decision.
  • For each car club car, approximately 10.5 private cars are removed from the road as a result of members selling / disposing of a car and not replacing it. The average age of cars sold by respondents was 7 years. Of the respondents who sold or disposed of a car, one in three sold or disposed of a car that was more than ten years old.

Car ownership amongst new members falls after joining:

  • 44% of new members surveyed owned at least one car before joining, falling to just 28% afterwards.

Impacts of Car Clubs on Travel Behaviour

impacts of car clubs on travel behaviour

If car clubs result in a reduction of car ownership, how do they affect travel behaviour in general? This survey shows that new members also travel by car less after joining, reducing their car use as a whole.

  • Before joining, 26% travel by private car at least once a week, falling to 19% after joining.
  • Use of other car modes (car as passenger and taxi) amongst new members also falls slightly though the changes in use are less pronounced. Use of all public transport modes increases slightly as does walking, though there was a slight fall in cycling, possibly due to the survey being conducted in Autumn / Winter months.
  • Changes to car club member travel habits are sustained over time. Car club membership, along with other measures to support the use of public transport, cycling and walking, facilitates more sustainable travel behaviour.

Experiences of Using Electric Vehicles

experience of using electric vehicles carplus annual survey of car clubs 2017

What about electric vehicles in car clubs? One in seven respondents has tried an electric vehicle, resulting in the following:

  • 14% of respondents have used an electric car club vehicle in 2017, up from 9% in the previous year.
  • 74% rated the experience of driving the vehicle ‘good’ or ‘very good’. Respondents were less happy with the experience of using EV charging points, with 60% rating the experience ‘good’ or ‘very good’.
  • Those who rated the charging points ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ encountered problems with charging points not working, cars not being fully charged at the start of the booking, and scarcity of charging points.
  • Convenient location is primary reason for using EVs. The most popular reason for choosing an EV was location with 47% reporting that it was the closest vehicle to them.
  • 45% used the EV out of curiosity and 27% used EVs because they are environmentally friendly.

Use of other shared mobility services

use of shared mobility carplus annual survey of car clubs 2017

Do car club members also use other shared mobility services? These services used in tandem with car clubs include:

  • 8% of round-trip respondents are also members of flexible car clubs (and/or have used a flexible car club in the last 12 months).
  • Aside from car clubs, 49% of members surveyed have used traditional car rental in the last year, 22% have used cycle hire and 14% have informally car shared. Less than 5% have used peer-to-peer car clubs and ride sharing services in the last year.

Looking at this most recent car club survey, we see that we need to implement other forms of shared mobility as a stronger secondary alternative to car club members.

Interested in receiving a list of reports reviewing usage patterns and carshare demographics? Contact us and request them here.


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