Moreover, is the substituting of public transport travel by carsharing even worth mentioning? Carsharing is used on a regular basis in only a few exceptional cases. The majority of car sharers take advantage of the offers rarely and only on special occasions: Well over two-thirds of the respondents use carsharing only three days a month or less (n=176). It is very important here to differentiate between free floating and stationary carsharing. While stationary carsharing has more to do with the "transport of goods of non-daily needs" and "one-day excursions", other uses ("travelling home, transporting of other persons") frequently involve free-floating carsharing. The trips which are replaced by both carsharing systems are hardly relevant for public transport at this time.
How much of a threat is the impact on public transportation?
The varying frequency of use shows that most of the users have not completely switched over to carsharing. Their main means of transportation is still public transport or bicycle. None of those interviewed by InnoZ are willing to cancel their season tickets for public transport. On the contrary, positive effects can be observed: A great number claim to use carsharing often in situations where public transport is unsuitable. This concerns, on the one hand, the transport of large items and quantities, where carsharing is often more practical than public transport. On the other hand, there might be the malfunctioning of public transport or the fact that fewer trains and buses are available during the late hours and the waiting times then are too long. In addition, empirical studies prove that public transport has even grown more attractive for the users through carsharing.
Long-term effects cannot be proven thus far, at the most they can be anticipated. So far, the findings show that carsharing users continue to use public transport or the bicycle as their main means of transportation. Carsharing is accepted as a supplementary offer that is rarely used. It can therefore rather be expected that investments in private vehicles will decrease while there will be more long-term commitments to public transport.
The conclusion of in-depth dealing with this topic, the motives of the users and the actual impact should lead to the call for carsharing. It is counterproductive for public transport to question the use of public parking spaces for carsharing vehicles. In fact, a systematic view makes more sense: Carsharing is a part of public transport - and a supplement to the offer of trains and buses. To strengthen public transport, i.e. to prevent persons from buying their own cars and thus using them as their main mode of transportation instead of trains and buses, the previous suggestions about the support of carsharing must be surpassed. Regions that wish to reduce car traffic and its negative consequences in the long term as well as air and noise pollution, are well-advised to promote carsharing. There should be something else offered that helps to make the privately-owned car unnecessary.
Comment by: Andreas Graff, Josephine Steiner