Carsharing is a membership-based service, often run by private companies or non-profit organizations, whereby individuals are able to access shared vehicles, parked throughout communities, for short-term use. Members typically pay an annual fee as well as an hourly rate per usage. Carshare companies in turn typically cover costs of insurance, regular maintenance, and even gas.
Primarily designed for shorter trips, carsharing provides a viable alternative to traditional car ownership and can serve as an extension of a city's transportation network. These programs, which local governments can support, positively contribute to and expand sustainable transportation options within and around urban areas.
This report examines development and implementation of carsharing services. Issues addressed in the report include the roles of carsharing in enhancing mobility as part of the transportation system; the characteristics of carsharing members and neighborhoods where carsharing has been established; and the environmental, economic, and social impacts of carsharing. The report also focuses on carsharing promotional efforts, barriers to carsharing and ways to mitigate these barriers, and procurement methods and evaluation techniques for achieving carsharing goals.
The report was prepared in 2005 for the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP). TCRP is funded by the public, through the Federal Transit Administration.