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Car-Sharing: Where and How It Succeeds Chapter 2. State of the Practice 2.1 What is Car-Sharing? Car-sharing has appeared in numerous different forms throughout North America and the world. The term has encompassed open-ac- cess shared vehicle programs, intended for occasional trips where a car is needed; station cars for commuters to drive to work from the transit station; and systems for intra-campus mobility, for example in a university setting. While differing markedly in their objectives, business model, tech- nology and target market, these programs share most, if not all, of the following features: · An organized group of participants · One or more shared vehicles · A decentralized network of parking locations ("pods") sta- tioned close to homes, workplaces and/or transit stations · Usage booked in advance · Rentals for short time periods (increments of one hour or less) · Self-accessing vehicles It is important to distinguish car-sharing from ridesharing or car- pooling, given some international discrepancies in terminology. In the United Kingdom, the term "car-sharing" refers to the shared use of vehicles at the same time known as carpooling or ridesharing in North American parlance. In British usage, the term "car club" is generally used to denote the practice of sharing vehicles rather than rides (Exhibit 2-1). Exhibit 2-1 Car-Sharing and Car Club Terminology North American Usage Definition (in this report) British Usage Vehicles owned by a separate or ganization and shared between a Car-sharing Car clubs number of different users, who may use them at different times Privately owned vehicles shared for Carpooling, ridesharing Car-sharing a particular trip Page 2-1
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Chapter 2 · State of the Practice Definitions Rather than a formal definition, most published work provides a descrip- tion of car-sharing. This description can acquaint readers with a perhaps unfamiliar concept and be as inclusive as possible in embracing a wide variety of programs. In some cases, however, a precise definition has been needed, generally when a partner organization has wished to provide zoning incentives, tax breaks or other forms of support for car-sharing. For example, the City of Toronto adopted a definition in 2000 in order to grant on-street parking permits to AutoShare. In these instances, car-sharing needs to be defined as a category of services or vehicles, rather than naming a specific operator. Rydén & Morin (2004) argue that, in Europe, a legally valid definition of car-sharing is "probably the most important legal issue" to help establish and expand car-sharing. It can pave the way for on-street parking bays, a common road sign, and taxation and planning incentives. An alternative approach, taken by the City of Seattle, is to specify a "City- recognized car-sharing program" in the ordinance (Seattle Municipal Code § 23.54.020). This gives the City the freedom to extend the support to all op- erators that meet its standards, without the need for a formal definition. Exhibit 2-2 provides some examples of car-sharing definitions adopted or proposed by various agencies. The common themes are: (i) requirements for users to be members; (ii) access to a common fleet; (iii) billing in hourly increments; and (iv) exclusion of traditional car rentals. The State of Wash- ington definition provides the most concise, effective way to address all these points and is a recommended model for other entities as a standard, common definition. Importantly, it explicitly provides for business and other organizational members, as well as individuals. It defines car-sharing as: A membership program intended to offer an alternative to car ownership under which persons or entities that become members are permitted to use vehicles from a fleet on an hourly basis. Page September 2005 2-2
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Car-Sharing: Where and How It Succeeds Exhibit 2-2 Car-Sharing Definitions Organization Definition Source North American City of Toronto Carsharing is the practice where a number of people share the use of one or more cars that are owned City of Toronto, 2000 by a profit or non-profit carsharing organization. To use a vehicle a person must meet the membership requirements of the carsharing organization, including the payment of a membership fee that may or may not be refundable. Cars are reserved in advance and fees for use are normally based on time and miles driven. Carsharing organizations are typically residentially based with cars parked for convenient access within the area of the membership served by the organization. State of Washington A membership program intended to offer an alternative to car ownership under which persons or entities Revised Code of Washington § 82.70.010 that become members are permitted to use vehicles from a fleet on an hourly basis. (5) State of Oregon A program in which drivers pay to become members in order to have joint access to a fleet of cars from Oregon Administrative Rules 330-090- a common parking area on an hourly basis. It does not include operations conducted by a car rental 0110 (7) (Business Energy Tax Credit) agency. District of Columbia Car-sharing vehicle any vehicle available to multiple users who are required to join a membership District of Columbia Municipal Regula organization in order to reserve and use such vehicle, for which they are charged based on actual use tions, § 9901 as determined by time and/or mileage. State of Minnesota (Pending A "carsharing organization" means an organization that: Senate Bill SF1229 (Dibble), as introduced Legislation). Note that this only 84th Legislative Session (2005-2006) includes 501(c) nonprofit opera (1) is described in section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code; tors. (2) is comprised of members who purchase the use of a motor vehicle from the organization; (3) owns or leases a fleet of motor vehicles that are available to members of the organization to pay for the use of a vehicle on an hourly or per trip basis; and (4) does not assign exclusive rights of use of specific vehicles to individual members or allow individual members to keep a vehicle in the member's sole possession. European Belgium (Draft) Car vehicles put at the disposal of members against payment for a limited duration of use according Rydén and Morin (2004) to contractual conditions determined by [the car-sharing organization], to the exclusion of car rental and leasing. Swedish National Road Adminis Car-sharing means that a number of persons share the use of one or more cars. Use of a car is booked Vägverket, 2003 tration (Draft) beforehand, the user paying a fee based on the distance driven and the length of time the car was made use of. Although this is similar in some ways to traditional car rental, it differs in the possibility it provides of booking a car for short periods of time and in the rental agreement being made for an extended period of time, rather than each time a car is used. In addition, each household has its own set of keys, and cars are placed in the vicinity of where members live. In the case of company car-sharing, the keys and the cars are being readily available at the place of work. "Key" is here equal to smartcard or similarities. Page September 2005 2-3
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Chapter 2 · State of the Practice Accreditation Alternatively, some municipalities and other organizations mostly in Eu- rope have developed accreditation programs. Rather than developing an inclusive definition, these accreditation criteria are deliberately exclusive: they explicitly aim to exclude car-sharing operators that do not meet mini- mum standards. As well as the operational aspects of car-sharing, they often cover environmental objectives. For example, they may prescribe maximum vehicle emissions levels or require that mileage fees be assessed separately from hourly charges, which may discourage users from driving more than absolutely necessary. Two examples include "Der Blaue Engel" ("Blue Angel") program in Ger- many and criteria from the Swedish National Road Administration. Such accreditation programs are always a trade-off between raising the bar for operators, and being too severe. The German criteria, for example, have perhaps proved too stringent and have excluded many car-sharing opera- tors in that country (Rydén & Morin, 2004). Der Blaue Engel, Germany The German "Blue Angel" environmental labeling program details several criteria for the accreditation of car-sharing operators, as follows:1 · Open to all, subject to credit and driving record checks · Minimum of 10 participants per vehicle · 24-hour vehicle booking, pick-up and return · No minimum booking length above one hour. The rate per hour must not be more than 15% of the daily rate. · Charges levied on the basis of time and distance · Regular care and maintenance of the vehicles in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations · Compliance with all legal safety requirements · Compliance with European emissions standards and noise limits Sweden The Swedish National Road Administration argues that basic criteria are needed, in case "fictive car-sharing" programs are established to take ad- vantage of special benefits offered to genuine car-sharing operators. These are proposed as follows (Vägverket, 2003): 1. Basic Criteria for the Award of the Environmental Label Car Sharing RAL-UZ 100. Accessed May 19, 2004 at www.blauer-engel. de/englisch/produkte_zeichenanwender/vergabegrundlagen/ral.php?id=20. Page September 2005 2-4