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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Carsharing in Shanghai, China: Analysis of Behavioural Response to Local Survey and Potential Competition

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The rapid motorization of China raises questions about the potential of alternative mobility solutions, such as carsharing (short-term auto use), in developing mega cities like Shanghai. While motor vehicle demand is increasing rapidly, there are many aspects of urban transportation in Shanghai (and China more broadly) that separate it from the urban environments in which carsharing has traditionally thrived. For example, the taxi plays a much more prominent role in the transportation systems of Shanghai and Beijing than it does in most North American and European cities. Carsharing has also normally thrived in environments in which the broader population has experience with both driving and automobile ownership. This is currently lacking in Shanghai. To evaluate carsharing’s potential in Shanghai, the authors comparatively analyze the size and competitiveness of the taxi systems of key carsharing cities in Europe, North America, and Asia and highlight some core distinctions between Shanghai and other major cities where carsharing has thrived. To further explore the potential response of citizens to carsharing, the authors conducted a survey (N=271) of a subpopulation in Shanghai from November 2010 to February 2011. The survey analysis shows that those interested in carsharing are younger, more likely to be educated, have longer commutes, and own fewer cars than those not interested in carsharing. Following the survey analysis, the authors conclude with a discussion of the implications of these results for the development of a carsharing industry in Shanghai.

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