Car-sharing scheme improvements
Membership based car sharing organisations (known as ‘car clubs’ in the UK) provide pay-as-you-go access to vehicles. They have developed in recent years giving users access to a car for journeys where this is the most suitable means of transport. Brighton & Hove had hoped to expand the scheme as part of this project.
Implementing sustainable mobility
Membership based car sharing organisations (known as ‘car clubs’ in the UK) provide pay-as-you-go access to vehicles. They have developed in recent years giving users access to a car for journeys where this is the most suitable means of transport.
However, car clubs are largely confined to more densely populated and affluent areas, as is the case in Brighton & Hove. It was planned that, through its participation in CIVITAS ARCHIMEDES, Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC) would expand the existing scheme to more socially disadvantaged and less densely populated locations.
Whilst significant efforts were made to progress this project, insurmountable barriers were encountered and the project was formally cancelled.
- This measure was abandoned so the evaluation has been qualitative and focused on the lessons learnt.
Work in Brighton & Hove has shown that financial viability, negatively affected by lower density locations, is the fundamental barrier to delivering car clubs in less densely populated areas with the following being key contributors to this situation:
- More readily available parking reduces the incentive to join a car club.
- Car club vehicles require approximately 40 members to be financially sustainable. In less densely populated areas this requires a larger geographic area which is problematic as the convenience of a readily available vehicle parked close by is key to attracting members.
- There remains considerable scope for expansion within the core market areas of car clubs and for them to contribute to a sustainable transport system in this manner. Therefore, there is limited incentive for commercial operators to take the risks that would be associated with the areas this project was targeting.
Although efforts to pursue alternative options in Brighton & Hove proved to be unsuccessful, the following have been identified as potential solutions to the difficulty of establishing car clubs in areas of lower population density:
- To forge partnerships with local businesses and employers in order to increase the potential membership base.
- To start any expansion with locations bordering areas of high and lower population density.