Thursday, September 17, 2009

Car sharing

Car sharing is generally not cost-effective for commuting to a full-time job on a regular basis. Most car sharing advocates, operators and cooperating public agencies believe that those who do not drive daily or who drive less than 10,000 kilometers annually may find car sharing to be more cost-effective than car ownership. But variations of 50% on this figure are reported by operators and others depending on local context. If occasional use of a shared vehicle costs significantly less than car ownership, this makes automobile use more accessible to low-income households.

Car sharing can also help reduce congestion and pollution. Replacing private automobiles with shared ones directly reduces demand for parking spaces. The fact that only a certain number of cars can be in use at any one time may reduce traffic congestion at peak times.

Even more important for congestion, the strong metering of costs provides a cost incentive to drive less. With owned automobiles many expenses are sunk costs and thus independent of how much the car is driven
Successful car sharing development has tended to be associated mainly with densely populated areas such as city centers and more recently university and other campuses.

There are some programs (mostly in Europe) for providing services in lower density and rural areas.[citation needed] Low-density areas are considered more difficult to serve with car sharing because of the lack of alternative modes of transportation and the potentially larger distance that users must travel to reach the cars.