The Car Sharing Policy in the Netherlands: Market Incentives for Service Arrangements That Encourage Selective Car Use
SWEERS W, Ministry of Transport, The Netherlands
Since the late seventies Dutch transport policy has been trying to reduce the use of cars. The key concept is selective car use, which means that people are encouraged to use their cars only if necessary. However, the average anual distance (AAD) of priva
Since the late seventies Dutch transport policy has been trying to reduce the use of cars. The key concept is selective car use, which means that people are encouraged to use their cars only if necessary. However, the average anual distance (AAD) of private cars appears to be very stable over many years' at approximately 15 thousand kilometers per year (Table 1). Therefore, the increasing availibility of cars is a determining factor in the growth of car use.
Private ownership induces car use in occasions in which other transport modalities would have been more appropriate. Ownership encourages custom forming behaviour in using cars, which does not contribute towards selective car usage. The permanent availibility of a car discourages the use of as well bicycles for short distance trips as the train for the long distance.
Demographic traftic prognoses forecasts that without policy interferences the car fleet will increase up to 8 million vehicles over the period 1986-2010, resulting in a car traffic growth of 70%'. The central target of the national transport policy is to restrain the growth of passenger car traffic from 70% to 35%3. If the policy target is to be achieved by only influencing car use, the average annual distance per vehicle is to be reduced seriously (table 2). Considering the figures over the last two decades, such an approach is not expected to be highly effective. If the AAD is considered to be a mere constant factor, efforts are to be made to control the growth of the number of passenger cars.
The right to own a car is highly regarded in Dutch society, and the policy is not to interfere. Measurements that create barriers to ownership, such as pricing, special taxes or regulation, are to be avoided as much as possible. Although there is a strong correlation between ownership and use of passenger cars (i.e. the non- selective use because of permanent availibility), there is no policy to reduce or control ownership. The Singapore strategy, by which congestion is effectively controlled by strict regulation of ownership4 is unthinkable in the Netherlands. There is a strong opposition among the Dutch public to any measurement that restricts or even affects car ownership in any way. Car ownership is perceived as a Ôconstitutional rightÕ, that not only gives access to transportation but also serves a basic need to express personality and individuality of the modem citizen5. Obligations and prohibitions in this domain are strongly rejected.
Therefore, alternative means of car availability have been developed on a voluntary basis. The concept of car sharing has been introduced as a possibility to use a car (for occasions when other modalities are not sufficient) without the need to own a Car.
Association for European Transport