Catch a Car: Mobility’s Free Floating Car Sharing Pilot

Mobility's catch-a-car free floating car-share pilot

Scrolling back to August of 2014, a car-sharing pilot called “Catch a Car” was launched by Mobility in Basel, Switzerland. As the city’s first free-floating car-share program, this project allowed for careful study of how free-floating car-sharing would affect local individual travel behaviour.

Two surveys were conducted shortly after the launch in  November/December 2014 and in April/May 2015, and consisted of a questionnaire, capturing insights as a “mobility diary” and asking general socio-demographic questions. Lastly, a survey was repeated with the same participants in November/December 2015, offering promising insights into the first free-floating car-share program in Basel.

The findings: half of Catch a Car’s members are between the ages of 18 and 36 years old. They are individuals who describe themselves as “open to innovations” and do not consider privately-owned vehicles as a status symbol.

Half of Catch a Car’s members are also members of Mobility Carsharing, and the majority of uses were shorter trips for the purposes of shopping, airport transport, visiting friends and the like. While 50% of Catch a Car’s trips were made spontaneously, the other half were initiated as the fastest connection between point A and B.

Since the members of Catch a Car use public transportation more frequently than average, it is suggested that many members consider Catch a Car as the meeting point between public transportation and private-car mobility.

The results of the study suggest that Catch a Car allows members to significantly reduce private car ownership, creating a net reduction of 363 cars by March, 2016 when considering the number of Catch a Car members. This can also be measured in the annual reduction of car-use by 560’000 km which translates into an annual savings of 45’000 l gasoline or 104 t CO2.

While these studies only represent a short period and initial customer usage patterns and environmental impacts, the observed effects show that Catch a Car complements the existing transportation system in Basel and offers an affordable alternative to interurban travel.

The author of this study is Francesco Ciari from ETH Zurich.

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