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.