Using Existing European Road Capacity Efficiently

Using Existing European Road Capacity Efficiently


A Clabburn, K Lane, Liftshare, UK



?If [UK] car occupancy increased to 2 [from its current 1.6], CO2 emissions would drop by 9 million tonnes? Keith Tovey MA PhD CEng MICE CEnv

There are currently 38 million empty car seats commuting on UK roads every day. Consider then the amount of spare capacity on European roads. The potential is staggering. And considering that a two percent reduction in transport demand would be required, between 2010 and 2020, to stay in line with the Bali roadmap, all potential should be explored.

A lot of informal car-sharing (when two or more people share a car and travel together, also called ride sharing or car pooling) already occurs, between friends, neighbours and work colleagues, but the current trend is a decline across Europe in average vehicle occupancy levels. Fortunately the advent of the internet paved the way for formal car-sharing schemes, where it is possible to register your journeys online and find other people travelling your way that you can share with. The success of these online schemes shows the potential that formal car-sharing has. liftshare has been enabling and promoting car-sharing in the UK for the last 10 years. To date, over 300,000 people have registered on our car-sharing network, the largest in the UK, saving about 40,000 car trips every day.

There has been limited research on car-sharing to date, but liftshare have recently been involved with a ground-breaking research project into the motivations and barriers to car-sharing. The project, funded through the Higher Education Funding Council for England?s Carbon Connections scheme, had several distinct outcomes.
? Members of several car-sharing schemes were surveyed to identify the motivations and barriers to car-sharing at a personal level and scheme organisers were interviewed to identify them at an institutional level.
It was found that, at the personal level, the belief that members would be unable to find a suitable match due to their working hours, home location or other commitments; and misconceptions about car-sharing, were the main barriers. Saving money and reduced environmental impact were found to be the main motivations.
At the institutional level the main barriers were to adopting sustainable travel initiatives in general and once adopted success was hindered by not properly addressing members? personal barriers. Motivations for implementing car-sharing schemes were mainly the need to manage car-parking capacity and environmental impact.
? The experience of existing successful car-sharing schemes was analysed to identify how the barriers could be addressed and motivations harnessed.
The important areas were found to be:
- Management support
- Parking problems
- Launch events
- Regular promotions and communications
- Incentives
- Community involvement
- Media support

? Some of the financial motivations for organisations were analysed and calculated.
It was found that most organisations were not aware of the true costs of their car parking and that many of the wider HR, facilities and strategic benefits of car-sharing schemes were not taken into account.
? The potential carbon savings for an organisation through car-sharing were calculated.
? A personalised travel planning tool was developed to enable organisations to reduce their carbon footprints. A demonstration is available for travel planning in Scotland.
? A demonstration of RFID technology was carried out to assess its potential to monitor and further car-sharing. The trial was very successful and further applications are now being considered.

The combined results of this project are like a best practice guide to initiating and implementing a successful car-sharing scheme at various scales. As such it is invaluable knowledge for transport professionals to be aware of and to use for making the case for car-sharing.


Association for European Transport