Report Summary: The Impact of Free-Floating Carsharing on Car Ownership

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In review of the latest research report by Scott LeVine, we felt compelled to share the most impactful findings with you in a summarized article. The report entitled The Impact of Free-Floating Carsharing on Car Ownership provides many insightful details of the changing industry of shared mobility, and the subsequent decreasing demands of car ownership.

The Impact of Free-Floating Carsharing on Car Ownership

What is free-floating carsharing? Before we go any further, let’s define the term “free-floating.” Free-floating carsharing (FFCS) refers to a carshare program that is not roundtrip, or in other words, one which can be used for point A-B trips. Because the member is not required to return the vehicle to where they picked it up, the trips tend to be much shorter and much more convenient for errand running or just getting from point A to B in your day-to-day life.

Free-floating carsharing services are found in several dozen cities of high-income countries, and are now beginning to appear in middle-income societies. The objective of the research paper is to characterize the early-stage impacts of free-floating carshare on its users’ ownership of private cars, using data from the DriveNow FFCS service in London.

The Questionnaire distributed to subject of the study included questions like:

Which of the following statements most closely applies to you: Because of DriveNow….

  1. The number of cars I own didn’t change during the last three months.
  2. I decided not to buy a car during the last three months.
  3. I got rid of a car during the last three months
  4. I will get rid of my own car in the next few months

FREE-FLOATING CARSHARING ON CAR OWNERSHIP impact results:

  • 63% of FFCS users indicate that the introduction of the service did not affect their ownership of private cars
  • 37% of FFCS users reported impacts on their ownership of private cars:
    • 83% of those reporting any impacts indicated that during the three months prior to the survey, they did not purchase a car that they otherwise would have purchased
    • 11% of those reporting any impacts indicated that they disposed of a private car that they previously owned as a response to FFCS availability
    • 6% of those reporting any impacts) indicated that they plan to dispose of a private car during the three months following their survey participation

The Most Common Uses of Free-Floating Carshare

So if free-floating carsharing is indeed impacting car ownership, what are the most common uses of this form of shared mobility?

  • The most commonly usage of FFCS (attributing to 51%) was reported as: ‘in addition to other means of transport’ (ie. public transport).
  • The second most common use of FFCS was to visit friends/relatives (48%)
  • The third most common use case reported by FFCS users was to go shopping (40%)

What does this research tell us? While 63% of ReachNow users felt their FFCS membership didn’t impact their private car ownership, it’s possible that this may change with the growing comfort, availability, and convenience offered by free-floating car share programs. And of the 37% of users who felt an impact, we can only imagine this number will increase as well.

Interested in this report? Please contact us here or reach out to Scott LeVine.


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