What makes car-sharing so compelling?... a study with TU Vienna

We’ve been championing car-sharing as a cost-effective and sustainable urban mobility solution for years. But what is it precisely that motivates city dwellers to services like SHARE NOW? What do they use car-sharing for? And what factors impact their frequency of use? Thanks to a new study carried out by the Institute for Spatial Planning, Research Department Transport System Planning of the Vienna University of Technology on behalf of SHARE NOW, we have a better understanding. Conducted between September 22 and October 16, 2021, 1,907 SHARE NOW users in Vienna took part by answering a digital questionnaire on their car-sharing usage. Here’s what we learned.

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Car-sharing users reduce traffic

A car-sharing presence in the city increases the likelihood individuals will make the shift from owning a private car to the use of more shared mobility - and thus provide relief from congestion to the city itself. Of those surveyed, 44 % of all Vienna SHARE NOW users do not own a car and 20 % have reduced their number of owned private cars in the last five years. Customers who use car-sharing at least once a week are most likely to not own a car at all, or to have given up their car in the last five years.

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Corporate car-sharing is a big pull

Around 71 % of respondents said they would use car-sharing more often or switch completely to car-sharing if it were offered as a benefit - such as in the form of a monthly mobility allowance via a service such as SHARE NOW for Business - by their employer. In addition to monetary incentives, the sustainability of the respective car-sharing provider also plays a role. Almost 40 % said they would use car-sharing more often or switch completely if their company was more committed to environmental and social sustainability.

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City parking drives people to car-sharing

One of the biggest gripes urban motorists have in 2022 is the cost of inner-city parking. In general, about 95 % of the study participants considered free parking to be important or extremely important when deciding to use car-sharing. Likewise, 72 % of the respondents said they would use car-sharing more often or switch to car-sharing completely if parking in the city generally became more expensive, but parking remained free for car-sharing users. Parking fees are included for all SHARE NOW users - as are insurance and refuelling - contributing to the motivation of making the switch.

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The whole package counts

When making the decision to go for car-sharing over owning a private vehicle, the study found that it’s a cocktail of benefits and factors that really makes up people’s minds, rather than a single killer feature. All users from “occasional” (use car-sharing one to five times a year) to “heavy” (use car-sharing at least once a week) cited service features such as a short walking distance to the car (important or extremely important for 84 %), a free-floating model (...88 %) or additional fuel and insurance at no extra cost (...91 %) as one of the reasons for their decision to use SHARE NOW.

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The app is really the glue

Naturally, none of these car-sharing advantages really matter if they’re not easily and readily available to urban residents via mobile technology. For car-sharing users in Vienna, the simple and fast operation of a car-sharing app is essential, with 93 % of respondents expressing that the performance and usability of the mobile app are either important or extremely important. With the SHARE NOW app, your reserved car can be opened within a few seconds after just two taps. You can also find and reserve cars using voice commands with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.

David McCourt

David McCourt

Sr. Editorial Content Strategist

"Own less, share more."

David is on a mission to improve the quality of life in cities through modern mobility solutions.