Car sharing will exacerbate city traffic

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Car sharing is booming in Germany, many people prefer to rent if needed a car instead of owning one of your own. However, a study has criticized the concept: The traffic in cities is getting worse. The car companies call it nonsense.


Car sharing is becoming ever more popular, particularly providers of so-called Free-Floating services such as Car2go from Daimler or DriveNow, BMW offers a constantly growing clientele. Their concept: On every corner a rental car and the private car unnecessary. For the user this is a practical Alternative – but this mobility model also helps to solve the traffic problem in the cities?

A study by Civity, a consulting firm for public services, says: no. Car-sharing, so the Theory of the TRANSPORT-related company, displace more environmentally-friendly modes of transportation such as the Bicycle, and worry for even more traffic on the roads.

When car sharing from Car2go and DriveNow “is a Hype”, says Stefan Weigele, co-founder of Civity and creators of the study “Urban mobility in transition?”. “Make not contribution to the relief of traffic in urban areas”, he says.

Weigele bases its assertion on the following observations:

  • According to the study, a rental car will drove, for example, in Berlin, on average, about 62 minutes a day – little more than a vehicle, privately owned. Consequently, the car-sharing cars is just under 23 hours left unused by the roadside. A nationwide average are the times of use according to Weigele, it’s even less: Car2go reach a daily capacity utilization of 43 minutes, DriveNow of 52 minutes.
  • Car-sharing for trips with relatively short distances . In Berlin the average for distances of 5.8 km. The are distances, which could also be without a car. For comparison: in Berlin took advantage of the public TRANSPORT routes by an average of 10.1 kilometres, the private car for means of 9.5 kilometres, the Bicycle for distances of 3.4 kilometers, and walk for distances of just under a kilometre.
  • Car-sharing will often in leisure traffic . During the commuter traffic at its peak in the morning between 8 and 9 o’clock, spent the demand is high for car-sharing vehicles against 21 o’clock. For Weigele an indication that the cars do not contribute to the discharge of transport in cities: “The classic commuters not using Carsharing.”

Weigele calls, therefore, that the Expansion and improvement of public TRANSPORT as well as Bicycle and pedestrian paths should be the priority. Car sharing scheme Car2go or DriveNow “are not able to replace the high capacity of public transport”, – stated in the study.

“The data from the study do not agree with our Convention”

Daimler to react angrily to the investigation. “The data from the study are not in agreement with our data,” says Andreas Leo, Car2go. According to him, the vehicles in the section are borrowed from six to eight times a day. “A rent lasts between 20 and 40 minutes. In Germany, our vehicles travel, on average, a minimum of 150 minutes of the day.” Competitor to the BMW wanted to call on request of MIRROR ONLINE is not a Pay to DriveNow.

The reason for the large difference: Weigele and his staff have not worked together in the study with the car-sharing providers, but their data on their web pages is determined. For a year the Team on an algorithm I have checked all of half an hour the pages and recorded whether and where the vehicles were moving. In addition, there have been samples in which the data were collected every two minutes for each vehicle.

Weigele defended this methodology, even if Car2go provides different Figures: “We maintain our data collection and the resulting conclusions.”

The weak point of the study

Criticism of the study comes also from the Bundesverband Carsharing (bcs), a combination of car-sharing providers with fixed stations. The bcs uses otherwise every opportunity, of the Free-Floating providers to differentiate. So bcs-Chairman Willi Loose and moved itself to the Use of Car2go and DriveNow in doubt, because of their convenient use mountains in its view, the risk that not less car is driven than before.

Nevertheless, Loose looks the Civity-analysis sceptical: “Only by the duration of use, one can conclude on the General driving behavior.” The analyses of the Association, according to a Carsharing car replaces up to ten vehicles in private ownership.

Weigele is with his study, therefore, is totally of the mark?

Not quite, Friederike Hülsmann. She works on behalf of the Federal environment Ministry, the Öko-Institut is also a study for the flexible car-sharing on the example of Car2go. In a point Hülsmann with the study’s creators agree: “On public TRANSPORT, in order to reach an environmentally friendly mobility behaviour.” And instead of the private car to car sharing to transfer, you should also be other Alternatives highlighted. “The lack of a car means that you will be restricted in its mobility,” says Hülsmann.

The study by Civity is, in your view, but especially in a point vulnerable to attack: “it provides a kind of inventory, without a Before-and-after analysis.” Such a consideration is especially important to know, for example, whether the user had changed from car-sharing her travel behavior or whether they would have taken for the track, maybe the bike or the Bus.

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