A first-of-its-kind study on the impact of the one-way car sharing service Car2go has found that the transportation model reduces the number of cars on city streets and cuts air pollution. In Seattle, one of five cities studied, each Car2go vehicle removed an estimated 10 vehicles from city roads — more than 6,300 vehicles total.
The study released Tuesday by the University of California, Berkeley Transportation Sustainability Research Center (TSRC) was conducted over the course of three years in Calgary, Alberta; San Diego; Seattle; Vancouver, B.C.; and Washington, D.C. It paired independent research with unprecedented access to Car2go data from nearly 9,500 members.
In news releases from TSRC and Car2go, the findings spell out how Car2go vehicles lead to fewer privately-owned vehicles on the road, fewer vehicle miles traveled and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
Here’s a snapshot of Seattle data, where Car2go boasts more than 82,000 members:
- In 2015, Car2go Seattle reduced overall vehicle miles traveled by up to an estimated 34.2 million miles.
- Each Car2go Seattle vehicle eliminated up to 14 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
- Car2go Seattle also prevented up to an estimated 9,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from polluting Seattle’s air.
In all of the cities where the study was conducted, Car2go was found to remove an estimated 28,000-plus vehicles from the road as it reduced parking demand.
The study was led by TSRC co-director Susan Shaheen, a recognized leader in innovative mobility research with a focus on the sharing economy.
“Vehicle ownership in cities can be expensive and inconvenient, with private vehicles sitting unused approximately 95 percent of the time,” Shaheen said in a news release. “Our three-year research effort into one-way car sharing in North America revealed that Car2go is having a beneficial impact on mileage driven, greenhouse gas emissions, and the total number of vehicles in the cities we studied.”
Car2go, which debuted in Seattle in December 2012, was joined in the car-sharing game by BMW’s ReachNow in April, and in June that service announced that it was expanding to additional Seattle neighborhoods and adding more vehicles to its fleet.