Unpacking impacts of car sharing: insights from a qualitative research study in Melbourne, Australia

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Car sharing as a mobility option is growing rapidly in many countries. To meet growing demand, local governments are often approached to provide support to car share providers and car share users. However there is a lack of local evidence about the effectiveness of car share in Australia. Moreover, much of the car sharing research worldwide has been empirical, focused on the net impact of services. These findings have provided insights into ‘what’ happens as car sharing increases but offer few insights into the ‘why’ dimension. This exploratory study, conducted in Melbourne, Australia, was informed by a theoretical framework informed by the mobility biographies literature. Qualitative methods were used to investigate the impact of car sharing on travel behavior in the form of lifestyle, mobility and travel choices. Focus groups (n=5 groups) and semi-structured interviews (n=18) were conducted with car share members and non-members in inner and middle Melbourne. Car sharers were classified into five categories: car dependents, car avoiders, second car avoiders, car aspirers and car sellers. Key findings suggest that car sharing motives and impacts vary greatly for all categories. Car aspirers and car sellers report the greatest changes in mobility choices (car ownership) and travel choices (use of a car, public transport and active modes). The study highlights the value of a disaggregated understanding of impacts for each member category. It provides evidence relevant to tailoring policy, plans, and marketing measures to encourage the use of car share as a lever for reducing car ownership and dependency.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventAustralasian Transport Research Forum 2018 - Darwin, Australia
Duration: 30 Oct 20181 Nov 2018
Conference number: 40th
https://www.australasiantransportresearchforum.org.au/papers/2018 (Proceedings)


ConferenceAustralasian Transport Research Forum 2018
Abbreviated titleATRF 2018
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