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Feasibility study of new mobility services in Coimbra


Coimbra undertook a feasibility study to assess the possibility to have a new car sharing service in Coimbra and in how far it will help to reduce private car traffic.

Implementing sustainable mobility

A technical and economic feasibility study to set up a car sharing service in Coimbra will serve as a model case for Portugal. Car sharing studies so far have not been done in Portugal and the concept is hardly known, even among many professionals and local authorities. The study assesses how far it is possible to compose (a part of) the car sharing fleet of electric vehicles and using vehicles from the municipal car fleet.

The aim of the measure is to:

  • Reduce traffic;
  • Improve air quality; and
  • Reduce the dependency on fossil fuels.

Coimbra would like to explore if a mixed car sharing service could be developed that reserves the cars for municipal services like public transport operator SMTUC during working hours and makes them available to car sharing customers for the rest of the day, which would include rush hours, as well as weekends and holidays. Another idea is to integrate the car sharing service with other transport products such as public transport passes.

How did the measure progress?

A technical and economic feasibility study for implementing a car sharing system in Coimbra can serve as a national case study. Currently there are very few car sharing studies in Portugal and the concept is relatively unfamiliar, even within many mobility professionals and local authorities. The study also evaluates the possibility of using electric and hybrid cars in the car sharing fleet.

The measures main objectives are:

• Reduce automobile traffic;
• Improve air quality;
• Reduce the dependency on fossil fuels;
• Augment the number of trips in sustainable modes.

This measure also assesses the possibility of the Municipal services and SMTUC using the car sharing service during working hours and liberating the fleet for the general public use on off-hours and weekends.

Another proposal in the study consists in integrating the car sharing service with the new public transportation ticketing system through the use of the new e-card.

What were the outcomes of the measure?

The innovation of this measure is very relevant because will contribute to a greater sustainability of local and regional of PT.  More precisely, the study proposes the introduction of an innovative transport solution (electric vehicles) that is unique in the region (car-sharing) and which will imply the direct involvement of the Municipality and the Urban public PT operator (SMTUC) thus promoting the integration with the rest of the public transport services and products and improving the use of the Municipal PT fleet..

The feasibility study prepared within the CIVITAS MODERN period concluded that this measure is feasible at a relatively low cost and has the potential to generate revenues that support the operation and permit the gradual recovery of the investment.

The results of the measure indicate that in a short period of time the operational car-sharing system could generate positive impacts over the balance between the operating revenues and the operating costs (+ 0.04 €/vkm), the vehicle fuel efficiency (-0,84 MJ/vkm), and vehicle fuel emissions (-10 ton CO2 per year).

The development of the study demonstrates that:

• car sharing services are very important in cities that want to have an integrated mobility system, being an important complement to the public transport network.

• If institutional fleets are to be used in supplying the system, a previous assessment of the car usage by the current users of the fleet is strongly recommended.

• launching the service with the use of a reduced fleet, based on comparisons with the usage of similar services in other cities, is a good alternative to launching of a large scale service based on expensive and unrealistic demand potential assessments through surveys.

• The involvement or commitment of the key decision-makers in the implementation of a new system, especially in certain cultural settings or where there is a general lack of knowledge, is very important in order to identify problems and anticipate recovery actions, e.g., to avoid delays or irreversible consequences.

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