Car Clubs

Car clubs are usually organised schemes, which members of the public can join to gain access to a vehicle for short periods of time. In parts of Europe and in North America, car clubs are often referred to as car sharing. Car clubs differ from hiring a car in that club members pay an annual membership fee and can book a car either by telephone or using the internet for anything from a couple of hours to a couple of days. A mileage fee is charged to cover fuel costs. In most clubs, members would collect and return the car from a centrally located parking bay with no administration beyond booking the vehicle. The cars are generally obtained through a long term lease from a hire company by the club organisers, although a group of individuals can establish their own club.

Car clubs are introduced as a means of reducing the need to own and use cars without loosing access to a vehicle. They can also be introduced to increase accessibility in rural and/or deprived areas. Car clubs can also be introduced as part of a low car housing scheme Fewer parking spaces are provided than in standard developments, with the car club as compensation. Car clubs are intended to bridge the gaps between full ownership and conventional car hire, ride sharing, public transport, walking and cycling.

Demand impacts may not necessarily reduce car use, but they can be incremental over time. With this in mind contribution to achieving key policy objectives can may not always be positive.

Terminology

Someone getting in a car Car clubs are usually organised schemes, which members of the public can join to gain access to a vehicle for short periods of time. Elsewhere in Europe and in North America, car clubs are often referred to as car sharing. Car clubs differ from hiring a car in that club members pay an annual membership fee and can book a car either by telephone or using the internet for anything from a couple of hours to a couple of days. A mileage fee is charged to cover fuel costs. In most clubs, members would collect and return the car from a centrally located parking bay with no administration beyond booking the vehicle. The cars are generally obtained through a long term lease from a hire company by the club organisers, although a group of individuals can establish their own club. Clubs can own anything from one vehicle to a few hundred, with the geographical area and number of club members served ranging accordingly.

A car club differs from conventional hiring in that access to the vehicles requires membership of the car club organisation and provides greater flexibility in that vehicles can be booked out for very short periods of time. This means that aside from the relatively small joining/membership fees, the member pays for use rather than access to a car for a whole day, weekend, week or other period. For example, a club member could book a vehicle for one hour in the morning and an hour in the evening, just taking possession of the car for those periods. Consequently, only those hours are paid for. To obtain the same level of access via conventional car hire, it is probable that the vehicle would need to be booked out for 24 hours at a much greater cost.


picture of a car with a car sharing logo on
Styles of Car Club

The most basic, and therefore, lowest cost, model for a car club is a group of individuals purchasing a vehicle between them and making arrangements for using the car on a one to one basis. It is likely that the car would be based at a member's house in this situation. The club may not be seeking to grow, merely serve the needs of members, thus the desire for profit may be low. The geographical area served by the club is likely to be small. At the other end of the scale, clubs can be established in partnership with local authorities and/or transport operators. Vehicles can be obtained on long term lease from a hire organisation and be equipped with high tech access and tracking systems. The vehicles are likely to be parked at specified bays in the area served, and once booked can be accessed with a security tag identifying the bearer to an on board computer. The booking procedure is likely to be over the telephone via a call centre, and/or the internet. Additionally, the desire to expand and make a profit is likely to be greater. Thus, the geographical area served can eventually encompass entire countries. The Swiss scheme, "Mobility", which started back in 1987 now has nationwide coverage with 44,000 members in 350 communities, with 1,750 cars in 900 locations. Despite this, a common feature of nearly all clubs, is the need for community involvement and very often a committed community champion in the initial start-up phase. Once a club is established, links can be formed with public transport providers, giving members discounted public transport journeys. Such a link between Mobility and the Swiss railways resulted in rapid expansion of club. Mobility is also a member of ECS (European CarShare), an European umbrella group. Through this, Mobility members can access cars via other clubs in 80 European cities.

Levels of charge

The charges made by car clubs vary. The variability is a function of the level of technology involved, the cost of obtaining vehicles and the desire to make a profit. The larger and more sophisticated the club, the greater will be the administrative and staffing costs.

The charges made by two clubs in the UK are:

Two car clubs in England Woodgate car club in Leicester, a low tech club established and organised by members, charges £100 membership per year, plus £1.40 per hour of use. Three hours use per week would therefore cost £6.12 per week regardless of mileage.
BEST car club in Bristol, a higher tech club established and run in partnership with the local authority and transport operator, charges £25 joining fee, £100 one-off refundable deposit against accidents, £100 per year membership, £2 per hour of use and £0.15 per mile. Excluding the one off joining fee and deposit, three hours use per week would cost £7.92 per week plus mileage. Assuming 10 miles per week, the cost would be £9.42 per week.

Source: Sheffield Hallam University, 2001. 
Figures at 2001 prices.

For the purposes of comparison, hiring a small car (e.g. Vauxhall, Corsa) for a day can cost approximately £30 (2002 prices).

Technology

The level of technology involved at the outset of a club is often low, as nearly all are low-cost, community based organisations designed to meet local needs. However, as clubs grow the need for technology to facilitate smooth operations management grows. In line with this, rapid communications technology developments mean that the cutting edge clubs utilise and rely on very sophisticated technology. The use of such technology can also influence consumer perceptions. It is likely that the higher tech services are perceived as higher quality, more efficient and safer services. Technology can impact on the following areas of a club's operations, economic viability and service quality in the following ways:

  • Vehicle performance, including environmental credentials
  • Information and marketing
  • Project management
  • Reservations systems (kiosks, automated telephone and internet based)
  • Interfaces with other transport systems, e.g. links with public transport
  • Vehicle location
  • Vehicle access
  • Vehicle condition
  • Trip logging and billing
  • Dynamic mapping and on-board travel information
  • Access to emergency services

List taken from Britton E. (Ed), 2000.

An example of the technology available is COCOS (CarSharing Organisation and Communication System). The central element of the system is an on-board computer including an electronic immobiliser, sensor-interface and electronic identification system. The on-board computer can also be connected with mobile data radio systems, contactless access control systems or electronic key safe boxes. COCOS is supplied by INVERS GmbH based in Siegen,Germany. http://www.casharingeurope.org/ext/invers_e/base.htm, 2002.

Why introduce car clubs?

Car clubs are introduced as a means of reducing the need to own and use cars without loosing access to a vehicle. They can also be introduced to increase accessibility in rural and/or deprived areas. Car clubs can also be introduced as part of a low car housing scheme see development densities. Fewer parking spaces are provided than in standard developments, with the car club as compensation. Car clubs are intended to bridge the gaps between full ownership and conventional car hire, ride sharing, public transport, walking and cycling.

Various car pictures

Demand impacts

The impacts of car clubs are primarily on the demand for car travel. This will therefore contribute to transport policy objectives seeking to reduce congestion and the associated negative impacts. Where an individual accesses a car solely via a club or a household member joins a club as an alternative to purchasing a second vehicle, the demand for public transport, taxis, walking and cycling may also be greater than it would be if the car club did not exist and the individuals concerned purchased cars. Where an individual has purchased their own vehicle, the marginal cost of using other modes is higher.

Responses and situations outlines potential responses to car club membership and the situations in which particular responses are encountered. It should be noted that as use of car clubs is voluntary, the impacts are likely to be less than those resulting from measures which are imposed. Thus, impacts will be less than those resulting from urban road charging, for example. Urban road charging is designed to push drivers out of their cars, where as car clubs are designed to pull. However, impacts could be increased if use of car clubs becomes more wide spread. Greater take up could result from utilization of land use planning guidance and decisions to encourage more low car housing developments. As use of car clubs becomes more commonplace, the effect on uptake could become cumulative.

Responses and situations
Response Reduction in road traffic Expected in situations
For journey purposes that are not fixed in time, departure time may change to coincide with vehicle availability.
Where the diversion is needed to collect and drop-off the car.
Where membership of a car club provides access to a car that an individual previously did not have.

Where access to a car via a club replaces individual ownership or a household owning a second vehicle.

 

Where the individual previously had very low car use (essential journeys only) and merely makes the same journeys in a new way.



Where car club access to a vehicle replaces ownership or planned future ownership.

 

Where the individual previously had very low car use (essential journeys only) and merely makes the same journeys in a new way.

 

Where the individual previously travelled by public transport, walked or cycled.

Where an individual sells their car and relies solely on the club or a household sells their second car.
-
= Weakest possible response = Strongest possible positive response
= Weakest possible negative response = Strongest possible negative response
= No response

A change of home location may happen where a successful car club attracts people to live within its catchment area. Such an area could be deemed attractive because it allows access to a car club not available else where, or if it is a low car housing development, it could be that a relatively car free environment is deemed more attractive. However, unless there is a step change in willingness to be a part of a car club and the alternative modes available for journeys no longer made by car, such a response is unlikely. Further to this, if success involves expanding to provide access to club vehicles over a very wide geographic area, there may be no need to change home location.

Short and long run demand responses

There is some potential for considerable long run changes in demand response as a result of car clubs. The most significant responses will be where individuals sell their car, households sell a second (or even main) car or planned purchase of vehicles is permanently deferred. However, there are few countries in which car club use is wide spread. Thus, the long term demand response is dependent on how successfully car clubs are established. Success is likely to be a factor of image, quality of service and geographic coverage of that service. Whilst, there are some examples which are considered highly successful, access to a car via a club is still a minority choice in the areas served. Thus, we are only able to speculate what the long term demand response might be when a club is particularly successful. Demand responses illustrates the potential reactions.

Demand responses
Response - 1st year 2-4 years 5 years 10+ years
-
  -
  Change job location
- Shop elsewhere
  Compress working week
- Trip chain
- Work from home
- Shop from home
  Ride share
- Public transport
- Walk/cycle
  -
  -
= Weakest possible response = Strongest possible positive response
= Weakest possible negative response = Strongest possible negative response
= No response

An increase in taxi use may also result from car club membership. It is likely to follow the same pattern as increased public transport use and increased walking and cycling. All of these alternatives will only experience in increase in up take where car clubs are the sole means of access to a car.

Level of response

As with other measures, the price elasticity of demand varies with context. As with other calculations of price elasticity, the type of trip, type of traveller, price elasticity of related goods and services and whether the elasticity accounts for short term or long term demand responses are important influential factors in the calculation and interpretation.

Whether it is cheaper to access a car via a car club or sole ownership is a debatable issue. It has been suggested that for individuals in the UK with both low and high annual car travel distances (roughly 8000 and 16,000 kilometres per annum respectively) it is cheaper to own and run a small, second hand vehicle (Bonsall et al, 2001). Additionally, for exceedingly low mileage (e.g. only using the car to got to and from the supermarket once a week) accessing a car via a car club is likely to be more expensive than a combination of walk and/or bus, plus taxi for the journey home (Bonsall and Jopson, 2002). In countries where owning and running a vehicle is cheaper than in the UK, the mileage range where access to a car via a club is the cheaper option, when compared to ownership, may be even smaller.

Where club car use is the cheaper option and an individual sells their car, the reduction in cost would suggest scope for increased travel. Where this is increased travel by a mode other than the car, such an increase would not be contrary to transport policy aiming to reduce car travel.

If a car club is introduced to increase accessibility, there will inevitably be increased car travel. Such a need implies a lack of public transport. However, it is rare for there to be no such provision and many people are dependent on it. Where a car club is introduced, there may be abstraction from the public transport making it unviable. If it is then taken out of service, those who are unable to travel by car would be further disadvantaged. The risk is greater where there is already a very low revenue level or the service already relies on subsidy. Should access to a car also provide access to more distant supplies of goods and services, there may be abstraction from local provision, resulting in a reduction in and lack of local amenity.

Supply impacts

There will be no increase in the supply of road space, thus for many there will be no increase in supply, merely a change in the way the existing supply is utilised. If car clubs are introduced in deprived areas to increase accessibility, there may be some increase in the choice of modes so long as this is not negated by reductions in public transport service levels as a result of abstraction.

Financing requirements

If car clubs are to make a significant impact on transport policy objectives they need to attract as many customers as possible over as wide an area as possible. Clearly there is a need to start small and grow, but growth requires profit and reinvestment, whilst attracting customers to generate profit requires an image that appeals to the general public. Thus, so long as the higher tech car clubs can be made successful, they are likely to have greatest potential in terms of meeting transport objectives. Therefore, significant investment will be needed from the outset and this can include an element of subsidy.

The BEST car club in Bristol, UK required approximately £10,000 (year 2000 prices) to cover the feasibility study and set up costs. The local authority's transport plan indicates that a further £15-£20,000 (year 2000 prices) per annum will be needed to cover further expansion and development. This is not an insubstantial figure, but the potential benefits are clearly perceived as worthy of such investment. The potential benefits cited by Bristol City Council include fewer car journeys, which will in turn result in modal shift, making public transport more viable; increases in walking, cycling, home shopping and combined trips; alleviating parking problems; assisting energy efficiency; promoting social inclusion; reducing the need to own a car and providing cars for local business travel (Bristol City Council, 2000).

Expected impact on key policy objectives

Promotion of a car club can encourage people to increase or decrease their car use depending on how and why it is promoted. Clubs in affluent city areas and low car housing developments are designed to reduce car use. However, the promotion of car clubs in deprived areas where a high proportion of residents suffer some form of social exclusion may well increase car use as a means of increasing accessibility to meet social inclusion objectives.

Contribution to objectives

Objective

Scale of contribution

Comment

  By reducing delays and improving reliability. Contribution may be greater where promoted as part of a low car housing development.
  By reducing community severance through reduced car use.
  By reducing air and noise pollution and pressures on green space and environmentally sensitive sites through reduced car use.
  By improving public transport conditions as a means of supporting access to a car via a club in place of ownership, although this is dependent on service levels being maintained, not reduced as a result of abstraction.
  By reducing traffic levels.
  By freeing up potentially productive time currently lost in congestion.
  Subsidy is often required to support clubs for the first few years of operation.
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

The impacts on policy objectives outlined in contribution to objectives when promoted to increase accessibility will all be more severe if the increased access to cars encourages people to purchase vehicles of their own. There is a greater risk of this where the increased access to transport has resulted in access to a higher income. Impacts may be further increased where abstraction from public transport results from increased car use and marginal service are no longer operated, thus, forcing further increases in car use.

Expected impact on problems

As with the contribution to transport policy objectives, the impact on alleviating key problems varies according to whether car clubs are promoted to reduce car use or increase accessibility.

Contribution to alleviation of key problems

Problem

Scale of contribution

Comment

Congestion-related delay

Contribution may be greater when established in an affluent area or combined with low car housing development.

Congestion-related unreliability

Contribution may be greater when established in an affluent area or combined with low car housing development.

Community severence

By reducing traffic volumes.

Visual intrusion

By reducing traffic volumes.

Lack of amenity

Fewer car journeys could encourage use of local amenities.

Global warming

By reducing traffic-related CO2 emissions.

Local air pollution

By reducing emissions of NOx, particulates and other local pollutants.

Noise

By reducing traffic volumes.

Reduction of green space

By reducing pressure for new road building and city expansion.

Damage to environmentally sensitive sites

By reducing traffic volumes.

Poor accessibility for those without a car and those with mobility impairments

Where public transport is maintained to encourage access to a car via a club rather than ownership; by enhancing the reliability of public transport and subsidising services that may otherwise be taken out as a result of abstraction.

Disproportionate disadvantaging of particular social or geographic groups

Where public transport is maintained to encourage access to a car via a club rather than ownership; by enhancing the reliability of public transport and subsidising services that may otherwise be taken out as a result of abstraction.

Number, severity and risk of accidents

By reducing traffic volumes.

Suppression of the potential for economic activity in the area

By improving the efficiency of the local road network, especially where combined with other measures.
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

*If promotion of car clubs were combined with much improved public transport to the extent that some people were able to sell their cars, these impacts would be greater.

The contribution to key problems outlined above will all be greater if the increased access to cars encourages people to purchase vehicles of their own, especially where the increased access to transport has resulted in access to a higher income. Impacts may be further enhanced where abstraction from public transport results from increased car use and marginal service are no longer operated, thus, forcing further increases in car use.

It should also be noted that increased accessibility may be better provided through public transport. If provision through a car club means that existing services are discontinued (as maintaining both is likely to be too expensive), those who cannot travel by car will be further disadvantaged.

Expected winners and losers

One would not expect everybody to benefit equally from any transport measures. Indeed, with a measure such as car clubs, which can potentially be promoted for very specific objectives, there can be many losers if mitigating measures are not included as part of a package.

Winners and losers

Group

Winners/Losers

Comment

Large scale freight and commercial traffic

High value journeys – less time spent in congestion the greater the vehicle utilization – relatively small proportion of journey distance in urban conditions.

Small businesses

Where these are local and reduced car use encourages use of local amenities.

High income car-users

High income associated with high value of time. May use a car club if time taken to make a journey door-to-door does not increase. May benefit from reduced congestion

People with a low income Where they are able to gain access to a car.

People with poor access to public transport

Where accessibility is increased they will benefit (assuming they have a driving licence)

All existing public transport users

Reduced car use will reduce congestion and improve public transport reliability. More also benefit from complementary service improvements.

People living adjacent to the area targeted

They may benefit from reduced congestion and improved or increased public transport supply.

People making high value, important journeys

These journeys may still be made as solo drivers, but reduced congestion will result in valuable time savings.

The average car user Where they are able to travel more efficiently, saving time and money.
= Weakest possible benefit = Strongest possible positive benefit
= Weakest possible negative benefit = Strongest possible negative benefit
= Neither wins nor loses

Barriers to implementation

Scale of barriers
Barrier Scale Comment
Legal In some countries the legal and insurance status of those using club cars needs to be clarified.
Finance While most costs are met by car club firms and members, cities may need to provide pump priming support, and also preferential parking and exemptions from charges.
Governance Relationships between cities and (competing) car club operators may require care.
Political acceptability There may be concerns that car clubs encourage car use at the expense of public transport.
Public and stakeholder acceptability There are few adverse reactions to car clubs.
Technical feasibility Technology is needed for booking and allocating cars.
= Minimal barrier = Most significant barrier

CarSharing Portland

Context

Katzev et al (2001) report the effects of travel behaviour of the first year of operation of Portland's car club. "During its first year of operation, CarSharing Portland (CSP) was the largest car sharing organisation [car club] in the United States. …CSP sought to decrease unnecessary automobile travel by providing individuals, who did not own a vehicle or sought an alternative to owning a second one, with relatively convenient access to a vehicle when needed" (Katzev, et al, 2001). One hundred and twenty people joined CSP during the first year (what year this is, is not reported), sharing 9 vehicles, giving a ratio of drivers to vehicles of approximately 13:1. Vehicles were located at 7 neighbourhood stations through out the city.

Impacts on demand

Members were asked to complete a one week travel diary before using the CSP service and again at the end of the first year. These diaries revealed a reduction in personal vehicle miles for car owners and an increase for non-car owners as one would expect. However, the increase in personal vehicle trips by non-car owners is less than the reduction by car owners, thus the desired net reduction is achieved at the same time as improving accessibility. The increase in other vehicle trips also represents an increase in public transport patronage and thus an increase in farebox revenues for operators. The increase in non-vehicle trips represents an increase in walking and cycling, which will have positive outcomes. However, it should be noted that in all cases, the numbers are extremely small, and smaller than those obtained in some European projects.

Mean of all respondents vehicle trips per week before and after joining CSP
 

Car owners (n=15)

Non-car owners (n=18)

 

Before

After

Before

After

Personal vehicle trips

10

7

0

0.33

Other vehicle trips

14

16

10

13

Non vehicle trips

9

11

20

21

Total travel mileage

140

127

90

92

Vehicle mileage

103

84

0.33

25

Year mileage

5790

7230

50

134

Source: Katzev et al (2001).

Impacts on supply

There are no direct impacts on the supply of road space or public transport infrastructure. Additionally, the increases in demand for public transport are not large enough in this instance to result in increases in supply. However, a new service, i.e. the car club, is being supplied.

Other Impacts

Bernard (1998) in Katzev et al (2001) lists six deterrents to the use of car clubs:

  • "a user has to plan their trips in advance. So in most cases spontaneity if lost;
  • the user has to remember and take the time to make a reservation;
  • the car is probably parked further from the user's residence than their personal car would be;
  • the user has to leave it clean, every time, even if they are in a hurry;
  • the user has to deal with some form of paper work, pin numbers, lock boxes, etc. every trip; and 
  • the user has to worry about getting the car back on time - another loss of spontaneity."

Katzev et al (2001) reports - from the end of year survey - that, "these 'negatives' did not deter the members of CSP from joining the organisation. Nor did they find them terribly burdensome after experiencing the service." Whilst trip planning and returning the car on time were deemed "somewhat inconvenient" by some CSP members, almost as many members did not find these issues inconvenient. Prior concerns about the 'negatives' did not develop into notable problems and, "however burdensome they may have felt them, most did not let that interfere with the satisfaction they derived from the car sharing experience" (Katzev, 2001).

Contribution to objectives
Objective Comment
  The reductions in car use are not thought to be large enough to affect efficiency in this instance.
  The reductions in car use are not thought to be large enough to affect liveability in this instance.
  The reductions in car use are not thought to be large enough to affect the environment in this instance.
  A small improvement in accessibility has been achieved.
  The reductions in car use are not thought to be large enough to affect safety in this instance.
  The reductions in car use are not thought to be large enough to affect economic growth in this instance.
  There will have been potentially significant costs involved in obtaining the car share vehicles and administering the service, but these are not published.
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

Singapore Car Co-operative

Context

NTUC Income Car Co-operative Limited, Singapore's first residential car club, operated by NTUC Income Co-operative, started operation in 1997 in the Toh Yi residential area. In 1998 a second site came into operation in the new town of Bishan. Toh Yi has 19 blocks of flats and 1,600 residents. None have "more than a 10 minute … walk to the key box and car collection point at a centrally located multi-storey car park". In Bishan, which has a population 16,000 plus, "the key box and car collection point is located at … [the] bus interchange". The interchange is accessible by rail (mass rapid transit (MRT)) and bus. In 1998 in Toh Yi there were 4 cars for 80 members, in Bishan there were 2 for 40 members. By 1999, the number of members in Toh Yi and Bishan had more than doubled, and three more sites had come into operation in other residential estates. (Tuan Seik, 2000). The survey reported by Tuan Seik was undertaken in 1998 in Toh Yi and Bishan.

Members are issued with a personal smart card and how to booklet. To make a reservation they telephone a 24 hour reservation centre whenever they need a car, go to the nearest site, collect the car and drive off. Information on the trip is electronically transmitted from the car to head office. Payment is then taken automatically from the members bank account at the end of each month. To join individuals must be over 21 years of age and have a minimum of 18 months driving experience. Members must pay a deposit (S$100), and membership fee (S$100 for corporate members and S$50 for individuals) and an annual subscription fee (S$100). Other family members can also join for a supplementary fee of (S$30 per annum). Three categories of vehicle are available with the charges in Standard usage Fees applied.

Standard Usage Fees (S$)

Charge Items

Type of Vehicle*

Free km**

 

Type A

Type B

Type C

 

1 hour (minimum period)

9.00

12.00

20.00

10

Each hour thereafter

4.50

6.00

10.00

5

24 hour special

108.00

144.00

240.00

120

Owl special (9pm-6am)

27.00

30.00

60.00

30

Per additional km

0.40

0.40

0.50

-

*Type A: Mitsubishi Lancer 1.3 GLXi, Type B: Ford Laser 1.6 GHIA, Toyota Soluna 1.5GL, Type C: Mercedes Benz E220 (W124)
**Members use the car co-operative's credit card for petrol top-ups, as petrol and insurance are included in the other fees.
Source: Tuan Seik (2000).

Frequent users are eligible for a discount of up to 45% on standard usage fees.

The car co-operative in Singapore is seen as more efficient because the pay-as-you-go principle means that individuals choose the most cost effective mode for specific journeys and minimise mileage when they do drive, thus reducing congestion. It also eases the pressure on demand for private car ownership (which is very expensive in Singapore) at the same time as satisfying desires for car use. (Tuan Seik, 2000).

Tuan Seik (2000) discusses the economics of the car co-operative in the context of the Singapore Vehicle Quota System (which makes ownership expensive) and conventional vehicle rental, in greater detail.

Impacts on demand

The car co-operative in Singapore has caused a net reduction in public transport use. In Toh Yi a reduction in public transport use for social and shopping trips is partly compensated by an increase in use for commuting. In Bishan, 40% use MRT to reach the car station, 25% travel by bus and 10% use a combination of both. It is assumed that this represents an increase in demand for public transport, but the extent to which this compensates for the reduction in use for other purposes is not clear. In Toh Yi, only 4% travel by bus to access the car station. The remaining 96% walk. Unfortunately, the impact on private car use is not reported, although an idea of the proportion of car owners to ex-car owners is given in Other Impacts. The shift from public transport to co-operative car is shown in Mode of Transport by Trip Purpose.

Mode of Transport by Trip Purpose Resulting from the Singapore Car Co-operative in Toh Yi
Source: Tuan Seik (2000)

Mode of Transport by Trip Purpose Resulting from the Singapore Car Co-operative in Biahan
Source: Tuan Seik (2000)

The distribution of demand for car co-operative vehicles is summarised in Usual Period of Usage.

Usual Period of Usage of Singapore Car Co-operative Vehicle
Source: Tuan Seik (2000)


Impacts on supply

A new service is supplied in the form of the car club. Although, the introduction of the car co-operative in Singapore has not affected the supply of road space or public transport infrastructure. It is possible that net reductions in public transport use could negatively affect supply, but this is not reported.

Other Impacts

Tuan Seik (2000) reports the results of a survey of members, which was undertaken in Toh Yi and Bishan, with an additional survey of non-members (half of which were car owners and half of which were not) in Toh Yi, in 1998.

Members

Approximately 62.5% of members were non-car owners (60% in Toh Yi and 65% in Bishan). Twenty eight and 20% respectively were ex-car owners - it is assumed that they became non-owners as a result of joining the co-operative. Twelve and 15% respectively were car owners. The socio-economic profile of members is summarised in series of graphs below. The mean household size was 4.1 and it is assumed that this includes children. It is noted that due to the cost of car ownership in Singapore, those in the low income bracket could not generally afford to own a private vehicle. Fifty six percent of the members in Toh Yi and 50% in Bishan held professional, administrative or managerial desk-bound jobs, which required little car use during the working day.

Singapore Car Co-operative Members' Gender

Singapore Car Co-operative Members' Marital Status

Singapore Car Co-operative Members' Household Income

N.B:
1.The low, middle and high income categories are derived based on the estimated 1997 Singapore household income distribution. The 1995 Singapore household income distribution (Department of Statistics, 1997, p.17) is projected to 1997 figures using the proxy of an increase of 11.8% in average monthly earning of the Singapore labour force in 1997 compared to 1995.
2.Of the 30% low income respondents in Bishan, 25% were un-married.
Source: Tuan Seik (2000)

Members of the car co-operative gave a variety of reasons for joining, as summarised in the graphs below. It is assumed that respondents could give more than one reason for joining the co-operative.

Ex and Present Car Owners' Reasons for Joining the Singapore Car Co-operative

Non-car Owners' Reasons for Joining the Singapore Car Co-operative

It is assumed that respondents could give more than one reason for joining the co-operative.
Source: Tuan Seik (2000)

Amongst the non-car owners, it is noted that many are in the low or middle income bracket, especially in Bishan. Amongst ex-car owners and current car owners who gave up a second household car, cost savings are a major motivation. Savings are in the range of S$864 and S$1033 [per month it is assumed]. For all members, the co-operative car was mainly used to meet social and leisure obligations. In residential areas it was found that the co-operative appealed most to middle income households with children. They were usually non-car owners who could afford to satisfy some leisure and family journey needs with the more costly car co-operative, rather than the cheaper public transport option. The commute to and from work was usually undertaken by public transport.

In some high income households considering another car, the car co-operative was the most cost effective means of 'obtaining' a second household car, or in the case of low income single person households (with minimal family related costs) the first car.

"Compared to non-members, more …[members] were satisfied or very satisfied with most of the operational features" (Tuan Seik, 2000). Satisfaction with operational features is summarised in Members' Satisfaction with Operational Features. Unfortunately, this does not include satisfaction with vehicle accessibility. However, it is noted that in the more densely populated Toh Yi region, where most members live within the estate where the vehicles are sited, and walk to the parking bays, 96% took more than 15% to reach the vehicle. Conversely, in the more dispersed Bishan area, where most members used some form of public transport, 55% took less than 15 minutes.

Singapore Car Co-opeartive Members' Satisfaction with Opeartional Features
Source: Tuan Seik (2000)

Thirty one percent of members stated that vehicle maintenance was a problem in terms of speed and frequency of vehicles and how clean the vehicles were. Booking rejection was also cited by 24% as a problem. Additionally, some Bishan members (12%) said the distance from home to the parking bay was too great. At the time of writing the ability to decentralise vehicles to different car parks on the same estate was introduced. Seven percent of members also cited parking when returning the vehicle as a problem, due to the space being taken illegally. Thus, it appears that car availability and maintenance are perceived as the main problems for members and non-members.

Members perception of costs are similar to those of non-members. Time charges are seen as expensive. One solution to this is to encourage corporate members (at the time of writing there were none) to make more efficient use of the vehicles (i.e. use them for business purposes during the day when they are generally not used by non-corporate members). More efficient use in this way means that the capital costs could be shared between more members and thus, reduced for all. The perceptions of costs are shown in Members' Perceptions of Costs.

Singapore Car Co-operative Members Perceptions of Usage Costs
Source: Tuan Seik (2000)

Non-members

Car owning non-members all said they had not joined the co-operative because they owned their own vehicle. It is not clear whether the survey assessed ownership at the individual or household level, but regardless, it can be assumed that the ownership level satisfied need. Non-members who did not own cars gave the following reasons for not joining:

  • public transport was highly accessible and adequate for travel needs (55%), and
  • the scheme was too costly (24%)

Other reasons included not being aware of the co-operative and not possessing a driving licence.

Non-members perceptions of the charges and operation aspects of the co-operative are summarised in Respondents' Perceptions of the Charges (non-members) and Level of Satisfaction with Operational Features (non-members).

Singapore Car Co-operative Members' Perceptions of Usage Costs

Non-members' Perceptions of Singapore Car Co-operative Costs

Non-members also suggested improvements which could be made to the car co-operative.

Non-members' Suggested Improvements to Singapore's Car Co-operative

Contribution to objectives
Objective Comment
  This cannot be gauged as the impact on congestion is not reported
  This cannot be gauged as the impact on congestion is not reported
  This cannot be gauged as the impact on congestion is not reported
  The accessibility improvements gained through non-car owners obtaining access to a vehicle will have improved equity and social inclusion.
  This cannot be gauged as the impact on congestion is not reported
  This cannot be gauged as the impact on congestion is not reported, however, the improvements in accessibility may have had a positive effect.
  -
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution
Contribution to objectives and problems
Objective Portland Singapore
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

 

Summary of each case study's contribution to alleviation of key problems
Objective Portland Singapore
Congestion-related delay
Congestion-related unreliability
Community severance
Visual intrusion
Lack of amenity
Global warming
Local air pollution
Noise
Reduction of green space
Damage to environmentally sensitive sites
Poor accessibility for those without a car and those with mobility impairments
Disproportionate disadvantaging of particular social or geographic groups
Number, severity and risk of accidents
Suppression of the potential for economic activity in the area
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

Appropriate contexts

Appropriate area-types
Area type Suitability
City centre
Dense inner suburb
Medium density outer suburb
Less dense outer suburb
District centre
Corridor
Small town
Tourist town
= Least suitable area type = Most suitable area type

Adverse side-effects

No particular negative side effects are noted, but the case studies above do not suggest particularly strong positive impacts. Thus, the costs involved in operating a car club (which can be substantial and require subsidy in the early years) may not represent value for money.

Bristol City Council, 2000, Bristol Local Transport Plan, Bristol City Council, Bristol, UK.

Bonsall P, 2002, Car Clubs in New Developments, supplementary report 1 on Car Sharing and Car Clubs: potential and impacts, report to Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions and the Motorists Forum, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds, unpublished.

Bonsall P et al, 2002, Car Sharing and Car Clubs: potential and impacts, report to Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions and the Motorists Forum, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds, unpublished.

Britton E. (Ed) (2000), Carsharing 2000 - sustainable transport's missing link, World Transport Policy and Practice, Volume 5, No. 3.Available at http://ecoplan.org/wtpp/

COCOS
http://www.carsharing-europe.org/ext/invers_e/base.htm, 2002 (as on 8th March 2002).

Jopson A and Bonsall P, 2002, The Potential Role of Car Sharing and Car Clubs within socially Disadvantaged Groups, supplementary report 3 on Car Sharing and Car Clubs: potential and impacts, report to Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions and the Motorists Forum, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds, unpublished.

Mobility CarSharing, Switzerland
http://195.65.210.72/e/index.htm, 2002 (as on 19th March 2002).

Sheffield Hallam University (2001), Community Car Share Network RideSmart Programme Assessment, unpublished report.

Useful websites

CarPlus (previously Community Car Share Network (CCSN))
http://www.carshareclubs.org.uk

Ecoplan
http://ecoplan.org/carshare

Car Sharing [car clubs] in Europe
http://www.carsharing-europe.org

European Car Sharing [car clubs]
http://www.carsharing.org

Car Sharing [car clubs] in North America
http://www.carsharing.net