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Publications archive - Human settlements


Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

Car sharing : An Overview

December 2004 reprint
This report includes some original material by Carlo Iacovini and Karl Heinz-Posch. Peer review, revision and additional material by Rolf Bergmaier, Chloe Mason, Mark McKenzie, Sally Campbell and Ann Hobson was used to develop this final report for the Australian Government, Australian Greenhouse Office, 2004

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The primacy of car-based mobility has become a widespread problem in most cities in the world. In Australia, the situation is no different, as the car has an even more dominant role than in European cities. In Australia, transport is the fastest growing sector contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. Emissions from transport are second in magnitude only to the stationary energy sector. Enormous amounts of land and capital are bound up with cars, roads and parking space. This is a result of high levels of private car ownership. Although in medium and high-density urban areas many people walk, cycle and use public transport, there are occasions when they still see a need for some car travel. This is the 'mobility gap' that car sharing seeks to fill.

This report describes the concept of car sharing. Its purpose is to identify car sharing organisations in other countries and to examine the preconditions required to establish and run a car sharing organisation (CSO) in order to examine Australian conditions as a basis on which to encourage local initiatives. At an anecdotal level, car sharing is known to exist in a number of Australian cities. For example, approval was granted to a high-rise residential development to operate a car sharing scheme through a local car provider as a substitute for not providing on-site car parking. Other Australian CSOs are small-scale and none is known to be linked formally to public transport providers.

Car sharing is one of a number of mobility strategies, which solves some car ownership problems and problems associated with high car-reliance. A brief history of the concept of car sharing and its relationship to other mobility management concepts is outlined in Section 2. Some well-developed and/or innovative car sharing organisations overseas are described in Section 3. The benefits both to individuals and to the community are discussed in Section 4. The .nal section outlines the key situational requirements and institutional arrangements that support successful car sharing organisations, both commercial and not-for-profit. Most car sharing organisations (CSOs) start as small, local, not-for-profit operations supported by public funds and largely run by people with a commitment to enabling their clients to reduce car use and avoid the high .xed costs of private cars. The transition into economically viable businesses has been dif.cult for most of the CSOs that have chosen to operate commercially. This report explores the approaches, infrastructure elements and mechanisms that are the components of a CSO, drawing on examples in Italy, the UK, Austria, the USA, Canada, Switzerland and Asia.

We conclude that the success of a CSO depends on the type of CSO established, its locations and clients, the broad range of participants involved (including partner organisations), its relationship to and the accessibility of public transport networks, and what we have called CSO infrastructure, which includes levels of service, fleet quality and mix, appropriate technology and capacity to manage variable growth. Measuring success depends on organisational goals, which may not necessarily be commercial. Given that there is no agreed methodology to evaluate CSOs, this report does not offer a definitive formula for success.

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