Intelligent Transportation Technology Elements and Operational Methodologies for Shared-Use Vehicle Systems
There has been significant interest and activity in shared-use vehicle systems as an innovative mobility solution. Shared-use vehicle systems, that is, carsharing and station cars, consist of a fleet of vehicles used by several different individuals throughout the day. Shared-use vehicles offer the convenience of a private automobile and more flexibility than public transportation alone. From the 1990s to today, varying degrees of intelligent transportation system technologies have been applied to shared-use systems, providing better manageability and customer service. Many shared-use vehicles service providers today include some degree of advanced technologies (online reservations, vehicle tracking, smart card access) in their operations. Currently, there is a developing need for interoperability among shared-use vehicle service providers (e.g., smart card access among carsharing organizations) and transit operators (e.g., transit fare collection via smart cards). Interoperability will likely result in higher customer satisfaction and use, leading to greater market penetration. Similarly, some standardization will likely unfold for overall operational techniques (online reservations and insurance policies), customer interactions, and to some degree vehicle interfaces. Because shared-use vehicle systems are still a relatively new mobility concept, an industrywide standardization approach is still premature. Nevertheless, there are attempts to identify many of the important issues that will play a significant role in the interoperability discussions among shared-use vehicle providers and the development of industry standards in the future. There are key elements in intelligent shared-use vehicle system operations and trade-offs encountered during the pioneering stage of shared-use vehicle system developments. Topics to discuss include vehicles, user-system interactions, user-vehicle interactions, and system operations.