Urban mobility
in transition?

In the first issue of matters we talk about recent developments in urban mobility markets looking at the example of free floating carsharing systems (FFC)

The study focuses on the evaluation of the traffic-related economic impact of free floating carsharing systems and the implications for city and traffic planning, mobility services and free-floating-carsharing-providers. This is the outcome of a worldwide collection and multilevel analysis of 115 million data points over a period of a year, using data from 18 million car rentals.

Due to their small fleet sizes and low utilization rates, the existing free floating carsharing systems do not have a significant impact in their respective local markets und thus do not currently contribute directly to a solution for traffic problems in congested urban areas.

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Free floating carsharing meets mobility requirements and needs which could already have been largely covered by public transport and cycling with 50% of all FFC journeys in Berlin are shorter than five kilometers. These facts, complemented interviews with users of the free floating carsharing system, lead us to the hypothesis that free floating carsharing is largely “short-range motorized convenience-mobility”, which was previously carried out using environmentally-friendly means of transport, such as public transport and cycling.

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This video demonstrates the use of free floating carsharing in Berlin on the day of Germany’s semi-final match against Brazil in the 2014 football World Cup. It shows the short-range mobility patterns in the heavily populated and hip districts. Peak demand was reached shortly before kick-off. Not long after the game started, the demand decreased unusually quickly which coincided with Germany scoring more goals than ever before in such a match. Soon after the game, the demand for cars increases heavily again for another hour.



Mappable.info created the video. The visual form was inspired by the visualisation of densitydesign "seven days of carsharing" (http://labs.densitydesign.org/carsharing/). The source code is based on that published by Daniele Ciminieri at GitHub (https://github.com/fenicento/carSharing_paths). The background map was created using Tilemill (https://www.mapbox.com/tilemill/). Data on buildings was taken from OpenStreetMap, © OpenStreetMap contributors, the data is available under the Open-Database-License (http://www.openstreetmap.org/copyright). Data on water and open space is based on GMES - Directorate-General Entreprise and Industry (date of delivery: 15 Mar 2010 and 21 May 2010). http://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/data/urban-atlas#tab-metadata. The video was created using the open source language Processing (https://www.processing.org/) and the Unfolding Library (http://unfoldingmaps.org/).

A common criticism of privately-owned cars is that they are more likely to be stationary than being used: the German national average is one hour driving time and 23 hours parking time in public space. In urban areas, cars are driven for around 30-45 minutes per day. Across all three carsharing providers in Berlin, one free floating vehicle is used for approximately 62 productive minutes a day.

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Carsharing providers have successfully managed to create a new mobility product and to generate new revenue streams. With greater system capacity, higher utilisation and aggressive expansion, such schemes could potentially generate 1.4 billion Euros by 2020. However, the number of systems would almost need to increase by a factor of five from 30 to around 140.

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