Car Sharing: Consumer Acceptance and Changes on Mobility Behaviour

Car Sharing: Consumer Acceptance and Changes on Mobility Behaviour


MEIJKAMP R, TU Delfi and THEUNISSEN R, THEMA Mobiliteitsadvisering, The Netherlands


The existing car system is based on private ownership of cars. For a large deal of the


The existing car system is based on private ownership of cars. For a large deal of the
population however this is a very inefficient manner of fulfilling the needs for the
incidental use of a car. The average car in the Netherlands is only used 72 minutes
per day (CBS, 1992). The basis for this very inefficient system for providing
individual car mobility is caused by the low frequency of use related to the large
capital investment.

Car Sharing on contrary, wants to be a more practical, flexible and economic
alternative for the privately owned car. The principle of Car Sharing is simple: A
group of people are using the same car, but in a serial way. Car Sharing is a service
that can be characterised as a product-use services: the consumer only "buys" the use
of a car whenever necessary and is no more the car owner.

In the Netherlands, like in Germany, Switzerland and some other countries, the
shared use of a car is being offered in various, new commercial concepts. Car
Sharing is a service that offers a rental cars, as an alternative for owning a private car.
Besides financial advantages (for people that drive less than about 9.000 KM per year
it is substantially cheaper), it offers many practical advantages, like no paperwork, no
maintenance for the consumer.

Car Sharing can in fact be seen as an innovative and more customer friendly rental
service that removes the traditional barriers for people who regularly rent a car: The
distribution of cars is located in the living areas, the identification is speeded up,
guarantees for access to a car is provided, the payment is done electronically on
regular basis, et cetera.

The Car Sharing concept proposes a new organisation structure for the car system.
The car is not the users property, but is owned by an organisation, the "fleet
manager". This fleet manager provides a lot of users with.a car, whenever they need
it. The idea is that if people want to use a car. they have to make a reservation in
advance by phone at the reservation centre.

From transport policy perspective however Car Sharing is an interesting
development. Car sharing can be seen as a new instrument for influencing mobility
behaviour. This paper is written as an analysis for transport policy in order to be able
to optimise the further development and implementation of Car Sharing. The aim of
this paper is fivefold:

* to report about the development of commercial Car Sharing in the Netherlands

* to explain the relevance of Car sharing for transport policy

* to provide inside in the Dutch evaluation program on Car Sharing

* to report on an exploratory empirical study for the evaluation program on "Huur-
op-Maat" in Leiden

* to provide a theoretical basis for acceptance of Car Sharing as an alternative for a
privately owned car


Association for European Transport