This two-minute video provides a good overview of how Car Next Door’s neighbour to neighbour car sharing service works.
From a Borrower’s perspective, neighbour to neighbour car sharing is similar to traditional car sharing.
Neighbour to neighbour car sharing has a number of similarities with traditional car sharing (through companies like GoGet) from the point of view of technology and user experience. It also differs from traditional sharing in a number of key respects:
Neighbour-to-neighbour car sharing offers all of the social and environmental benefits of traditional car sharing, and additional benefits. For car borrowers, the impact on net vehicle kilometres travelled (“VKT”) is likely to reflect that of traditional car sharing, given the similarity of the user experience from a borrower’s perspective.
Our members have told us that they use cars when other modes of transport are unsuitable, such as to travel across the city to visit a friend in hospital at night; to transport props to a photo shoot; or to transport a business client to a meeting.
Less than 5% of trips made by our borrowers are less than 5 kilometres. This is dramatically lower than the population-wide average (according to the NSW Bureau of Transport Statistics, 80% of trips between two and five kilometres are made by car).
For car owners, we have observed that there is a reduction in VKT as owners seek to minimise their non-essential driving.
The embodied emissions of a car (that is, the emissions that were created in the process of manufacturing it) typically match or even exceed the exhaust pipe emissions over its entire lifetime (Berners-Lee, 2010). The per-kilometre emissions for a vehicle are reduced proportionately the more the vehicle is used. This means that converting vehicles that are already in the community to shared use has a dramatically lower carbon footprint than adding a new (albeit fuel-efficient) vehicle to the population.
Making people aware of the cost of driving on a pay-per-use basis has been shown in a number of studies to deter driving. With P2P car sharing, this incentive applies to car owners as well as car borrowers. Since car owners can make money by choosing not to drive their car and instead make it available for sharing, each car trip has an equivalent ‘cost’ in lost potential income. While traditional car-share members typically live in no-car or single-car households, P2P car-share owner-members have at least one, and often two cars. This is a demographic that would not be reached by traditional car sharing.
As noted above, the economics of traditional car-sharing mean that the service can only be offered in a limited number of geographic and demographic markets where high rates of usage can make the cost of buying and maintaining a shared vehicle profitable. Neighbour-to-neighbour car share operators do not bear these costs, and so can offer the service in lower-density areas. This means that car sharing could be provided in the suburbs, and not just the inner city. It also means that a fleet of 50 cars or more can be created in a few suburbs in a short time.