Shared Mobility

Definition: Shared mobility is the shared use of a vehicle, bicycle, or other mode – is an innovative transportation strategy that enables users to gain short-term access to transportation modes on an “as-needed” basis. The term shared mobility includes various forms of carsharing, bikesharing, ridesharing (carpooling and vanpooling), and on-demand ride services. It can also include alternative transit services, such as paratransit, shuttles, and private transit services, called microtransit, which can supplement fixed-route bus and rail services. With many new options for mobility emerging, so have the smartphone “apps” that aggregate these options and optimize routes for travelers. In addition to innovative travel modes, new ways of transporting and delivering goods have emerged. These “courier network services” have the potential to change the nature of the package and food delivery industry. Shared mobility has had a transformative impact on many global cities by enhancing transportation accessibility, while simultaneously reducing driving and personal vehicle ownership.

A number of environmental, social, and transportation-related benefits have been reported due to the use of various shared mobility modes. Several studies have documented the reduction of vehicle usage, ownership, and vehicle miles or kilometers traveled (VMT/VKT).

Shared mobility could also extend the catchment area of public transit, potentially playing a pivotal role in bridging gaps in existing transportation networks and encouraging multi-modality by addressing the first-and-last mile issue related to public transit access. Furthermore, shared mobility could also provide economic benefits in the form of household cost savings, increased economic activity near public transit stations and multi-modal hubs, and increased access.

Synonyms: Carsharing; Ridesharing; Carpooling; Ride Services; Shared-use Mobility, Shared Transportation

Why is this important? Shared mobility has grown tremendously in recent years as a renewed interest in urbanism and growing environmental, energy and economic concerns have intensified the need for sustainable alternatives.

Simultaneously, advances in electronic and wireless technologies have made sharing assets easier and more efficient. Automobile manufacturers, rental car companies, venture-backed startups and city-sponsored programs have sprung up with new solutions ranging from large physical networks to mobile applications designed to alter routes, fill empty seats and combine fare media and real-time arrival and departure information.

These new services represent innovative responses to the demand for new options, and offer an opportunity to:

  • Provide more mobility choices
  • Address last mile and first mile solutions
  • Reduce traffic congestion
  • Mitigate various forms of pollution
  • Reduce transportation costs
  • Reduce fossil fuel consumption
  • Reduce pressures on parking spaces
  • Improve efficiency
  • Identify choices for those who cannot afford to buy and maintain a vehicle

When will it be relevant to me? Carsharing will come out of the niche soon, Ridesharing will expand, Bikesharing is already offered in most medium-sized cities in Europe. “Vehicle sharing” will be a fixed component in the mobility systems of cities and the mobility modes of people in urban areas.

Push factors are restrictions in cities that make private car ownership more unattractive and expensiveThe pull factors are new technologies, from “real-time services” to “semi-autonomous cars”. They enable an extended group (youngster, elderly, not experienced drivers…) to use Carsharing, besides at lower costs.

Economics / impact: In three core regions—China, Europe, and the United States—the shared-mobility market was nearly $54 billion in 2016, and it should continue to experience impressive annual growth rates in the future. Under the most positive scenario, which involves strong customer demand for self-driving taxis or shuttles (so-called robo-taxis or shuttles), in low-density locations and in cities that take steps to enable them, the market could see 28 percent annual growth from 2015 to 2030. Even the least aggressive scenario points to steady growth based on convenience and economics; it projects 15 percent annual expansion, even if customers do not readily adopt robo-taxis and cities do not support them (McKinsey 2017).




Next steps:

  • Shared mobility solutions will become the norm for certain transportation modes
  • Seemless multi-modal transportation will be enabled
  • Autonomous cars will push shared mobility to a new level and substantially reduce the benefits of car ownership