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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Carsharing in Europe and North American: Past, Present, and Future


Most automobiles carry one person and are used for less than one hour per day. A more economically rational approach would be to use vehlcles more intenslvely. Carsharing, in which people pay a subscnption plus a per-use fee, Is one means of doing so. Carsharing may be organlzed through affinity groups, large employers, translt operators, neighborhood groups, or large carshanng businesses. While carsharing does not offer convenient access to vehicles, it does provide users with a large range of vehicles, fewer ownership responsibilities, and less cost (if vehicles are not used intensively). Societal benefits include less demand for parking space and the indirect benefits resultmg from costs being more directly tied to actual usage and vehicles being matched to trip purpose. This article reviews the experience with shared-use vehmte serxqces and explores thelr ,prospects for the future, focusing on the trend toward expanded services and use of advanced communmatlon and reservation technologies

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