Peer-to-Peer Carsharing: Short-Term Effects on Travel Behavior in Portland, Oregon, 2017

  • Date Enacted: Aug 1, 2017


From the abstract:

This report presents findings from a multiyear study of P2P carsharing that began in early 2012 and targeted members of Getaround, which launched in February 2012 in Portland, OR. The goal of this study, which collected information from both owners and renters, is to evaluate the impact of peer-to-peer carsharing relative to other models of car use, including ownership, rental, and conventional (corporate) carsharing. The two primary research questions are whether P2P carsharing can reduce overall and peak-period vehicle miles traveled (VMT) by marginalizing the cost of driving, and whether P2P carsharing increases access to jobs and other activities for those without cars. Compared with conventional carsharing, P2P carsharing has the potential to influence VMT for both the renter and the owner. P2P owners may reduce their driving so that the vehicle is available for rent. Renters, as with other forms of carsharing, may decide to forgo or reduce vehicle ownership and drive less because the marginal costs of driving are more apparent. This report also examines motivations and factors associated with greater or lesser participation (in terms of rental activity), the influence of P2P carsharing on travel behavior and attitudes toward car ownership, and general experiences with P2P carsharing.

Excerpt Sourced from Report

The researchers approached Getaround users when they signed up for the service. For “incentives of up to $300 based on the completion of study milestones,” they agreed to: have a GPS device installed in their car for six weeks of monitoring to establish baselines; complete a survey; then swith the vehicle to “live” (332 owners entered) for sharing and further monitoring, up to 16 months of available sharing. The researchers also approached renters (458 completed initial survey; 249 completed at least one rental).

Key Findings
For the owners, VMT changed very little from the baseline. A “considerable portion” either did not rent their cars (27%) or rented fewer than 5 times (28%) over a year. Those who did frequently rent their cars did decrease their drivers. The owners who did participate reported positive attitudes towards mode shift to active transportation, etc. while earning money and participating in a community. This was tempered by uneven experience with the technology and concerns about vehicle damage.

For renters, the researchers were surprised by the high number of work trips (21%) made with the study vehicles. Likewise, 47% of the trips were “chained,” i.e. multiple destinations in a single trip. The older, lower-income participants were more likely to make these trips. Overall, the users were quite positive about the service.

Updated August 2017

Citation: TREC-RR-1144
Document Types
  • Portland, Oregon, US
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