THE FUTURE OF CAR-SHARING
According to several studies, the market of car-sharing will grow largely in the forthcoming years. The Boston Consulting Group estimated that by 2021, 35 million users will book 1.5 billion minutes of driving time each month and generate annual revenue of €4.7 billion. Europe will be the biggest revenue-generating region, reason enough for Autodelen.net, the Belgian umbrella organisation for of car-sharing, to organise a conference in the city of Ghent on May 13th, 2016.
By Jeffrey Matthijs, Coordinator Autodelen.net
For the first time ever, all of Flemish car-sharing operators received a forum to present their solutions for companies and local governments. But before the microphone was given to the car-sharing providers, the event organisers took the time in the morning to research the coming trends in car-sharing.
THE FUTURE OF CAR-SHARING IS NOW!
Counsellor Filip Watteeuw from the city of Ghent set the atmosphere at the beginning of the event hosted by Autodelen.net on May 13, 2016 by welcoming everybody enthusiastically. Inspired by the CARE-North plus project (a forerunner to the SHARE-North project) and the City of Bremen, he made an ambitious Car-Sharing Action Plan for the coming five years. By the end of 2020, the city of Ghent wants to have 20,000 people who are sharing cars. This goal will be reached in cooperation with Autodelen.net who will take the lead for making the communication plan together with all car-sharing providers. In the coming two years, the city plans to invest 100k € for campaigning alone! Mister Filip Watteeuw ended his speech with prophetic words: “Car-sharing is not the future; the future of car-sharing is now!”
THE FUTURE IS SHARING (and planning)!
Then Autodelen.net explained car-sharing for dummies and gave an overview/classification of the existing systems. For local governments, it was strongly advised to plan car-sharing in order to maximise its many benefits. The message to the companies was to embrace the concept because it is for sure one of the biggest niches for car-sharing and it will deliver an economic profit.
Angelo Meuleman from Taxistop (another SHARE-North project partner) held a strong speech about the opportunities and treats considering autonomous vehicles. Could the self-driving car be a game changer or will it be business as usual? Off course SHARE-North goes for the disruptive scenario and Taxistop is confident that it is possible. According to a study from the OECD International Transport Forum, Taxibots (shared autonomous taxis) combined with high-capacity public transport could remove 9 out of the 10 cars in a mid-sized European city. But here again planning the whole project is essential to prevent everybody standing still in a self-driving car.
To end his presentation Angelo Meuleman of Taxistop talked about the idea of Quality Neighbourhoods. This is something very important for the SHARE-North project. It’s about neigbourhoods with 100% shared mobility. In this area, every possible trip can be made by shared modes, so there is no need for private car-ownership. This generates large benefits in terms of liveability, social cohesion and affordable mobility for everyone.
THE FUTURE IS (SHARED) INNOVATION
Next, the participants were witness to a rather surprising and hopeful statement from spokesman of Traxio (union of the car-selling industry in Belgium), Phillipe Decrock. He said the sector is moving from just selling cars to mobility providers. Investing in sharing technology and car-sharing is, of course, the logical next step but there is a need to look further than the car and also provide solutions in terms of bike (sharing) and multimodality.
To end of this interesting and inspirational morning, Kris Moonen, founder of Impact projects, launched the innovative concept “Garage Swap”. Parking spots and garage are literarily being swapped with parking spots for car-sharing. How does it work? Among others, Autodelen.net and Impact Projects are introducing a method to structurally implement car-sharing in new building projects. Together with stakeholders (Municipalities, car-sharing providers and sustainable energy cooperatives), the partners make a mobility scan and build a scenario for car-sharing for the next ten years. The beauty of the concept lies in its financial plan and the win-win-win situation between building companies, car-sharing providers and the future habitants. Building companies make a substantial cost saving by installing fewer parking spots in their projects. This amount is not entirely for them. Most of it goes to the implementation of car-sharing. This benefits the car-sharing providers and future habitants because they do not need to own one or more private cars.
In the afternoon, all car-sharing providers pitched their product and during a musical reception (with shared fingerfood, of course) participants could get more face-to-face information from the providers. It was a happy ending of a fantastic SHARE-North event.