With cycling gaining in clout and public transportation improving, cars are essentially going out of style. People are realizing more and more that there are better, more efficient ways of going about your daily commute. Most big cities now have bikes available for rent for a small fee, and bike lanes are becoming commonplace. Electric scooters are an even more effective way of getting around, if slightly more dangerous. Still, there has been tremendous progress in the realm of movement over the last ten years.
But what about people who live in smaller cities without luxuries such as decent bus routes and safe ways to cycle around? Because of a lack of resources, many people who live in such places are very dependent on their cars to get around. But it need not be that way. Instead, it is possible to start using car-sharing services in order to reduce the carbon footprint, traffic, and pollution.
Car sharing comes in a few different categories. The first is peer-to-peer car sharing, which works best in rural communities. This concept is fairly straightforward: rent out your car when you aren’t using it. Some examples of such services are Drivy and Turo. The B2C (business to consumer) model is what we normally think of when we think of car sharing. The company itself places cars all over a city, and the customer is responsible for collecting them and returning them to the same parking lot. Think short term rental cars without dealing with bad customer service. Some popular companies are ZipCar and Car2Go. Airport car sharing is yet another method, though it is highly specialized. Interested parties leave their cars at airports for people to use while they are on vacation. These are especially popular in Europe, such as BeeRides in Hungary or TripnDrive in France.
Using car sharing is fairly straightforward. There are several apps that are popular in different regions, such as Sixt and ZipCar. Simply register for the service, select your location, and find the nearest vehicle. You can rent a car by the minute, hour, or day, which means it can be used to do your grocery shopping, take the kids to school, or commute to work, depending on your lifestyle. At first, you may need to travel a little way to find a car, but the effort will be well worth it: according to ZipCar, one shared vehicle can take up to 13 cars off the road. In addition, a considerable difference can be made in the carbon footprint: 500,000 tons of CO2 are avoided by using ZipCar alone.
Today, car sharing is present across all continents except, of course, Antarctica, with Asia accounting for 40% of car shares globally. This makes sense because it is the most populous continent. Still, it is also a reminder that we have a long way to go to become a more effective society with regards to population movement.
The car-sharing market is expected to skyrocket in the next few years, with speculations being that by 2025, 36 million people will be using the service worldwide. A large part of this has to do with the millennial lifestyle, given that this demographic is focused on sharing everything from workspaces to kayaks. Similarly, people are increasingly aware of the problems that single-car ownership causes and are likely to take steps to do their part to avoid these issues, provided that something as easy to use as a car-sharing app is available for use.