Measuring the Impact of Car Sharing Programs at the Regional Level

Measuring the Impact of Car Sharing Programs at the Regional Level


E Petersen, A Darwiche, TransLink, CA


This paper reports on the impact of car sharing sites on the regional car ownership model for metro Vancouver.


Car sharing services are gaining in popularity in North America as well as Western Europe, particularly among residents in dense urban neighbourhoods. They offer the ability to use cars only when necessary, allowing many households to reduce the number of vehicles they own. In many cases, the users of these services reduce their household vehicles to 0. Despite this promise, it is unclear whether 1) these programs will spread to a significant share of the population in metropolitan regions (outside the urban core) and 2) whether their impact can be already be observed at the regional, for instance in car ownership models. The first question is well beyond the scope of this paper, which instead will focus on the second question.

As part of a model upgrade progress, TransLink is estimating car ownership models based on a 2011 household trip diary. The models will contain all the typical household and area-type variables. In addition a number of measures specific to car sharing will be included, including whether the zone of residence is also the site of a car sharing lot, whether the residence zone is in a neighbouring zone to a car sharing lot, the number of car sharing vehicles located within 250 m and 500 m of the origin, and some measures of the diversity of vehicles available within these buffers. It is worth noting that any of these have disadvantages in terms of implementation (requiring predicting future locations of car sharing sites) with the last two of these measures being particularly difficult to forecast. However, in terms of basic research, we felt it important to try to test a wide range of measures, even if they were not all completely practical for forecasting. In particular, we are interested in learning whether the car sharing measures stand out apart from more generic urban- and area-type measures. This research is nearing completion and will be complete by November 2012.


Association for European Transport