Technology has not only made certain areas of life easier, it has also favored flexibility of previously rigid services. Through web pages and mobile applications, sharing a privately owned vehicle is starting to be common around the globe. This results in a situation where strangers come together in a limited area, sometimes for several hours. How do these experiences change our perception of transportation? Could this social interaction affect our behavior?
From the scooter to the minivan: individual and shared benefits
Regardless if it is a car, bicycle or scooter sharing system and it’s organizational structure, shared mobility entails multiple benefits for both users and cities, such as vehicle usage without ownership (a more convenient service than traditional car renting) and lower demand for parking. Additionally, many social benefits of car sharing have been identified, for example health improvement and support of local economy.
One of the commonly forgotten aspects of vehicle sharing systems is precisely the “sharing” one. Communities willing to perceive and use in a different way what was previously in certain societies considered to be a status symbol, reflects a social change.
Mobility is shifting to a more convenience-oriented service, at the same time that the dividing line between private and public transport fades. Still, the long-term impact of shared mobility on social interaction and equity is to be assessed.
Sharing, access, flexibility and convenience: the new guiding words
Besides giving a better use of vehicles, shared mobility systems propose a more flexible and convenient understanding of mobility. Users choose when and for how long which vehicle fits better each of their situations. Convenience of vehicle sharing is starting to overshadow car ownership in some cities.
Not only individuals, but also cities are starting to perceive mobility, especially automobiles, differently. Regulations and incentives that support vehicle sharing systems are currently under development. Diverse related aspects, such as taxes and parking are being reevaluated.
Though some are still cautious about the impacts of sharing economy and even call it Access Economy, it is clear that new mobility schemes are broadening the traditional concept of transportation. It is critical to address the impact of shared mobility systems not only from a technical perspective, but also from a human and behavioral one.
Do you think shared vehicle systems are changing how transportation is perceived? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
Please note that this article expresses the opinions of the author and does not reflect the views of Move Forward.