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Innovative car-sharing

Ghent

There are nine car-sharing stations with 26 cars available in Ghent, which are mainly used in the evening and at weekends. However, the business market has not been exploited yet, which is what the city seeks to address with this measure.

Implementing sustainable mobility

Experience has shown that car-sharing still is a new concept, which can be difficult to introduce in a private car-oriented society. Therefore, the car-sharing organisation Cambio will launch experimental initiatives based on the findings of car-sharing experts. To identify the most effective ways to market car-sharing, the city is in contact with client-ambassadors and Cambio home parties. These strategies should reinforce the growth curve of car-sharing in Ghent and facilitate a change in mobility behaviour. During the project phase, Cambio will target new user groups, such as business users grouped within one building site and inhabitants of new housing areas. While doing so, there will also be experiments with new communication and promotion channels in order to get more people involved in this energy-efficient system.

How did the measure progress?

In the CIVITAS ELAN corridor, the main focus will be put on both an existing car-sharing station at the central station and a new car-sharing station at the back of the railway station. The existing car-sharing station will have to move for a longer period, as the whole area will be reconstructed. This is an opportunity to construct the new car-sharing station in the reconstructed area as it can be integrated into the new environment. This will make it more accessible for car-sharing clients living further away, as well as those living and/or working within the newly developed housing and building area.
As part of the project, the sub-measures will be implemented:

  • Opening of a new car-sharing station within the project corridor;
  • Implementation of new communication and promotion concepts targeting those living in the CIVITAS ELAN corridor;
  • A new business concept will be used to try to get new business clients for the car-sharing scheme.

 Key results
The measure has been evaluated on two inventories. For the inventory of contacted companies and their response, the number of circulating poolcards and the number of poolcards-using companies have been counted. A total of circa 250 companies were adressed by mail wherefrom 150 were also contacted by telephone.
There has also been set up an inventory of the contacted target groups/citizens and the actual number of subscriptions. Therefore, the impact of the Cambio trial offer on the number of users has been calculated. Also a annual growth of Cambio users by 20%  has been put forward as a target to measure the inventory. In general, the growth in number of Cambio users, cars and car sharing stations are used to evaluate measure 6.2.

• Key result 1 – A lot of companies joined the poolcard system: 27 companies or around 11% of the contacted companies joined the poolcard system which is more than 5 times more than the target level of 5 poolcards-using companies. There are 170 poolcards used in Ghent which is almost 7 times more than the target of 25 Cambio poolcards. The poolcard system can thus certainly be seen as a huge success.

• Key result 2 – The Cambio trial offer can be seen as a big success: There was a growth of Cambio users of 68% in the autumn period of 2009 (when the first trial offer took place) compared to the autumn of 2008. The second and third trial offers even had a growth of Cambio users of respectively 107% and 105% compared to 2008.

• Key result 3 – Cambio always had a strong growth of car users, also in the period 2009-2012: The growth of car users in the period 2009 - 2012 is with an average annual growth of 215,5 car users bigger than the average growth of 168,5 car users in the period 2005 – 2008.Cambio can thus certainly be seen as a success story.

What were the outcomes of the measure?

Ghent expects the measure will:

  • Reduce private car possession and use;
  • Reduce emissions;
  • Encourage citizens to walk and bike
  • If successful the measure will be introduced in other corridors and cities in Flanders, Brussels and the Walloon region;
  • Increase the use of energy-efficient cars;
  • Expand car-sharing to new target groups;
  • Explore the field of new promotion and communication channels.

Barrier 1  – Dependence on different actors for the integration of car sharing in new building projects

Cambio depends on different actors for the realization of the integration of car sharing in new building projects. There have been talks with AGSOB (City Development Company Ghent) and the Mobility Company, but there is not yet a fixed car sharing station in a new building project. Nevertheless, this will be realized in the future.
 

Barrier 2 – Technical difficulties with the locker system 
Originally, there was planned to try out the “Installation of a locker system at one of the Cambio stations within the corridor”. But due to technical difficulties with the locker system, this has never been worked out completely.

   - Driver 1  – Support of the city of Ghent
Since Cambio is a private company, it does not directly need the approval of the City Council of Ghent or another partner to start up an action on citizens’ engagement for example. But the city of Ghent helps Cambio with finding and starting up car sharing stations at interesting locations and in the supply of specific data for new actions of car sharing stations. The city of Ghent has a keen interest in Cambio because it lowers the number of cars in the city.

   - Driver 2 - Success questionnaire on potential car sharing stations
The questionnaire on potential new car sharing stations which was filled in by almost 600 (potential) users provided cambio with a lot of potential new car sharing stations. Since local residents know in general better than anyone else which places would be popular for a car sharing station, the suggested places for a car sharing station were taken into account and researched. In the end, four new car-sharing stations were opened.

   - Driver 3  - Cambio is also popular outside Ghent
Cambio is not only popular in Ghent, but they have also launched car sharing stations in other cities. This increased the number of possible destinations which increases the number of possible trips and users.

   - Driver 4 – General increase and successful first trial formula in 2009
The first trial formula offered in 2009 led to an extra growth of 36% in comparison with the spring months. This success incited Cambio to organise the action again the upcoming years.

Lessons learned

  • The trial offer formula worked very well
  • The users of Cambio are in general very open to citizens’ engagement:
  • Importance of good cooperation with partners and time for the organisation to grow:
  • Engagement of local residents can be very useful: 

 

 

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