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Overview of main benefits of shared mobility

In this article, we take a closer look at some of the key benefits of shared mobility: sustainability, accessibility, and reduced journey times.

Now that you’ve had chance to think about the benefits of shared mobility yourselves, let’s take a look at some of them in more depth.

Sustainability

For all mobility solutions, sustainability and the environment must be at the forefront of decision making.

Both technology providers and operators should commit to sustainability and minimise the environmental impact of the services provided. This could be through sustainable methods of producing the vehicles and ensuring components can be recycled at the end of life, or through how vehicles are maintained to extend the usable life of these vehicles.

Providing a sustainable mobility service that deploys quiet electric vehicles, and promotes a shift away from private car use, can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and improve air quality.

It is well known that electric cars are better for the environment than conventional petrol and diesel cars. However, when comparing GHG emissions to other modes of transport there are more sustainable options, including shared mobility. The chart below shows typical ranges of carbon dioxide emissions for a variety of transport options. Here it can be seen that shared mobility options, along with public transport, can achieve lower emissions than cars (even electric ones).

Transport mode comparison: range of gram CO2 per person-km. Showing walking to be the lowest and car petrol to be highest - other modes in-between include cycling, metros, e-bikes, electric buses, trains, e-scooters, diesel buses and electric cars. Transport mode comparison: range of gram CO2 per person-km

Accessibility and Ease of Use

Shared mobility can benefit citizens of all socio-economic status. Unlike passenger cars which require large amounts of capital investment or expensive lease schemes, shared mobility has no capital outlay for the end user. The user will just pay for the journey they need. Typical user costs for some of the main forms of shared mobility are stated below:

  • Car clubs – Monthly membership fee from £7/month, Hourly rental rate from £5/hour
  • Electric scooters – From £2 for a 2–3 mile trip
  • Electric bike – From £2 for 30 minutes
  • Non-electric bike – From £2 per day or annual memberships from £90+

Shared mobility can also improve transport access in areas where public transport is scarce. These gaps in the transport network can be plugged by shared mobility for a low cost. Through the integration of shared mobility into the transport system, this will give citizens greater accessibility to cheap transport.

Reduced congestion and journey times

Congestion represents wasted time for car drivers, with an average of 178 lost hours per year in the UK and an associated cost of £8 billion. Lost time due to congestion is most common in city centres where roads are often single lane and there is a high ratio of traffic crossings to road space. Additionally, limited parking in city centres can extend journey times, through drivers having to search for available parking spaces. Due to the urban environment, expanding the road network is difficult. Often the only way to reduce congestion is to reduce the number of vehicles travelling through the city.

Vehicles stuck in traffic.

Shared micromobility (e-scooters, e-bikes, and conventional pedal bikes) can provide a solution for this. These smaller forms of shared mobility have higher manoeuvrability through traffic as well as users able to utilise cycle lanes, if available. Typical speeds for electric scooters and electric bikes are between 12.5 mph and 20 mph (20–32 kph). Given typical inner city speeds of around 10 mph (16 kph), shorter journeys can be carried out quicker using shared mobility and can help to reduce congestion in cities as people choose shared mobility over using their own car.

Additionally, some forms of shared micromobility are dockless. Dockless vehicles can be parked anywhere within a pre-specified zone allowing users to travel from door to door. This can further reduce journey time, removing the need to try to find somewhere to park and then walking to your final destination.

Car clubs have also been shown to reduce the number of vehicles on the road with one vehicle replacing between 8 and 12 privately owned vehicles. The provision of car clubs therefore can help reduce the amount of space that privately owned vehicles take up within a city, easing the pressure on parking as well as congestion.

The benefits of shared mobility are many and can help improve travel, decrease cost, and reduce the impact of transport on the environment. So why is shared mobility not as prevalent as it should be? In the next step we will look at some of the challenges that are associated with deploying shared mobility.

In the comments below write your initial thoughts on what you think are the biggest challenges facing shared mobility.

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Sustainable Transport and Shared Mobility

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