Sharing is saving
The transport sector is one of the main energy consumers in industrialised countries. The project shows how collaborative mobility systems such as car-sharing, bike-sharing and ride-sourcing can help to make transportation more energy-efficient. To this end, shared mobility schemes were analysed in terms of their market potential and their interaction with the existing transport system.
Project description (completed research project)
One of the main goals of Energy Strategy 2050 is to reduce energy consumption. Collaborative mobility is a promising new way to save energy. For example, earlier research already showed that station-based car-sharing can help to reduce car-ownership and use. However, it remained unclear whether other forms of shared mobility like bike-sharing or ride-sourcing also have such a positive impact. Moreover, there were no answers to the question as to how such schemes are used today and how they may interact with each other and with the rest of the transport system if deployed together. Ultimately, the question is if and how the (public) transport system can be redesigned using shared mobility schemes to reduce energy consumption.
The system-level impact of the different forms of shared mobility were to be investigated using an agent-based microsimulation approach (MATSim). In such a simulation of the whole transport system, the actual impact and interactions of shared mobility can be observed even for large fleets, without incurring the high cost of field tests. To make such simulations as realistic as possible, the MATSim framework was adapted and extended using empirical data on shared mobility schemes already implemented in Switzerland. Different future scenarios were modelled and evaluated. These scenarios represent combinations and levels of availability of the forms of shared mobility. They were then valuated according to their respective costs and benefits as well as their energy consumption.
The results are manifold. Initial empirical analyses reveal that different forms of shared mobility do indeed serve different customer groups and show different usage patterns. However, they generally appear to complement the public transportation services and networks and enable members to reduce their level of car-ownership and use. Moreover, results indicate that in certain situations shared mobility may even be an efficient substitute for line-based public transportation services, if adequately subsidised. However, it seems likely that shared mobility services will need to be regulated and integrated in order to maximise system-level benefits.
Implications for research
The various methodological contributions based on this research have yielded an even more realistic framework to simulate shared mobility schemes in MATSim and to study their impact on the transport system. The simulation framework as well as the behavioural models estimated in the empirical analyses can provide a basis for further studies on the impact of shared or even automated vehicles on the transport system.
Implication for practice
The results of this research show that shared mobility services have the potential to increase energy efficiency of the transport system. The scenarios provide planners with tools to steer future development and allow operators to identify potential new business models.
Sharing is Saving: how collaborative mobility can reduce the impact of energy consumption for transportation