Vancouverites missing out on more than just Uber for transportation options


Vancouver, January 21, 2019 – The City of Vancouver remains the continent’s car-sharing capital, but has slipped two spots in an annual assessment of the current scope of and expansion potential for shared mobility services more broadly. At number seven, Vancouver comes in just behind Montreal in the 2019 Shared Mobility City Index (SMCI), ™ which ranks a cross section of 20 major North American cities.


Vancouver’s SMCI placement was boosted by its commuting-patterns score (it tied with Washington D.C. for top place). Fewer than half of Vancouver commuters use private vehicles, and their preferred alternatives such as public transit and cycling tend to integrate well with emerging shared mobility networks. A just-announced partnership through which TransLink and several local shared-mobility providers will bundle their services suggests that Vancouver is poised to begin reaping the benefits of integrating multiple forms of shared mobility.


However, Vancouver’s SMCI ranking suggests a stall in early momentum in other important respects. Continued lack of ride-hailing is one factor, but more significantly, this year’s analysis indicates that Vancouver is falling behind other cities in building out a range of increasingly diverse shared mobility services such as scooters, “e-assist” or partially electrified bikes, and micro-transit (smaller transit vehicles often deployed on a demand-responsive basis). Vancouver tied with Houston and two other cities for lowest-score on a measure of the current range of shared mobility services.


Vancouver also lacks the option of peer-to-peer car sharing services. This involves private owners making their vehicles available as part of a shared pool and – like Uber and other ride-hailing services – is currently precluded here by provincial regulation. Peer-to-peer car sharing services are available in numerous American cities including Portland and Chicago.


Vancouver had a mid- to low-pack score on a measure of the scope of plans and policies designed to support the sharing and sustainability of transportation, again with a noteworthy lack of diversity in the forms of shared mobility that receive policy support. Its ranking was boosted, however, by its top quartile placement among cities with a high cost of downtown parking relative to cost of transit – another factor which favours shared mobility.



“Vancouverites can be rightly proud of their pioneering role as subscribers to car-sharing services. But shared mobility is increasingly about a whole ecosystem of diverse and integrated transportation modes and solutions. Ride hailing isn’t the only thing we’re missing here, and we need to catch up with the many other North American cities that are speeding towards a wide range of new shared mobility options. ” – Sandra Phillips, Founder and CEO, movmi Shared Transportation Services Inc.



  • The City of Vancouver was an early and enthusiastic adopter of car-sharing, and continues to have the highest ratio of shared vehicles per resident (4.22) of any city in the SMCI. Extensive car sharing is complemented by the highly successful Mobi by Shaw Go bike share program launched in 2016.
  • More than one-third of Vancouverites are car-share users. Car2go – one of a number of car-sharing service operators in the Vancouver market – has its largest membership base anywhere in the world here, having surpassed the 100,000 mark in early 2016.
  • Vancouver has the second-highest proportion of biking commuters (behind Portland) and the third-highest proportion of walking commuters (behind Boston and Washington D.C.) among SMCI cities.
  • Vancouver ranked third among SMCI cities on density, which is another indicator of suitability for shared mobility services – although at close to 5,500 people per square kilometre, inhabitants here still have a lot more elbow room than New Yorkers and San Franciscans (~11,080 and >7,000/km2 respectively).
  • Driven in part by various planning and policy mechanisms, including the Greenest City Action Plan, annual vehicle-kilometres driven per resident of Vancouver dropped by 36 per cent from 2007 to 2017. Other policy mechanisms include requirements for transportation demand management plans for downtown development projects, and the ability to parked shared vehicles in restricted areas.
  • Pilots for additional shared mobility services have been conducted in Vancouver, including a 2018 pilot at UBC for Veemo Velomobiles – bicycles encased in a shell that provides cargo space and weather protection, and with e-assist capabilities for hills and longer distances.
  • Vancouver was the top-ranked Canadian city in the last version of the SMCI, but was out-ranked this year by sixth-place Montreal, which moved up four spots in the ranking in part due to its strong incentives for individuals to use shared mobility services.
  • Vancouver remains part of the largest North American metropolitan area that still has no access to ride-hailing services such as Uber.


2019 Shared Mobility City Index, Rank by Overall Score

1 San Francisco 11 Denver
2 New York 12 Boston
3 Seattle 13 Minneapolis
4 Washington DC 14 Toronto
5 Portland 15 Columbus
6 Montreal 16 Charlotte
7 Vancouver (#5 in most recent previous SMCI) 17 Dallas
8 Chicago 18 Detroit
9 Austin 19 Phoenix
10 Los Angeles 20 Houston


The SCMI is compiled by movmi []– a Vancouver-based consulting firm that works with entrepreneurs, non-profits, transit authorities, real estate developers and others to co-design shared mobility solutions. It works in diverse international markets, and regularly produces research and other industry-intelligence products. @shared_mobility

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Kevin Hanson             778-834-3050   

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