When you think of a mode of transport, a car is probably the first idea that springs to mind. Indeed, cars are traditionally seen as the obvious solution in getting from A to B. However, today there are an array of mobility alternatives in addition to a vehicle. With endless options to choose from, there has been a clear shift in mobility habits, including the rise of peer-to-peer car sharing.
According to an academic journal written by the Institute of Transportation Studies at Berkeley, peer-to-peer (P2P) car sharing is “an innovative approach to vehicle sharing in which vehicle owners temporarily rent their personal automobiles to others in their surrounding area.” This approach, as the journal also highlights, encourages collaborative consumption as opposed to ownership.
It is no question that most cities are overcrowded. From a lack of housing to very limited parking spots, space is always a concern. With this in mind, car sharing helps to solve some of these problems cities are facing. Not only does P2P car sharing reduce the number of parked cars (on already overcrowded streets), it also makes use of underused privately owned cars. Another key issue is the carbon emissions cars release. In the manufacturing process of one single car alone, several tonnes of CO2 are emitted and yet in Europe the average car stands unused for more than 23 hours a day.
As well as “external” problems that can come with having a car, a huge personal issue vehicle owners face are high costs. On top of paying for the car itself, owners need to consider insurance, road tax, and general maintenance costs. Nevertheless, P2P car sharing enables people to forgo the costs and responsibilities of car ownership and decreases the amount of time that cars spend unused in the driveway. Overall, the principal benefits, beyond the sharing aspect, include the opportunity to monetise personal vehicles and real-time matching of supply and demand.
Through cellular apps, there are car sharing marketplaces connecting car owners with people who need a car. Companies like GoMore, are a prime example of how to successfully introduce P2P car sharing into a market. GoMore, a recent venture that Baloise has invested in, is on a mission to continuously develop new car sharing concepts that meet the needs of private individuals, housing associations and companies. The business also wants to enable as many people as possible to choose not to have a car of their own while still enjoying complete mobility.
For the car owner, this helps them to recoup some expenses their vehicle costs them. Meanwhile, for individuals who do not own a car it gives them the opportunity to rent a vehicle for their required tasks such as visiting a destination with poor public transport, picking up a large item, or taking a short trip out of the city. Although opening up your personal property can be a daunting thought for some, these sharing platforms provide all-risk insurance and are on hand to help if there are any issues.
Meanwhile, from an environmental perspective, GoMore argues that the better use of cars is needed in order for the return in terms of mobility to offset the CO2 invested in each individual car, thereby achieving the goal of sustainable personal transport. The company’s CEO, Matias Møl Dalsgaard reinforces that, “We own far too many cars and we use them very badly. But sharing means fewer people have to own a car, which means more space for living – and less space for cars that aren’t being used.”
What's not to love about this concept? P2P car sharing offers a multitude of benefits for both owners and renters. This concept monetises an asset that often sits idle. However, not only does P2P car sharing provide a source of personal wealth, on a wider scale it is helping to reduce environmental pollution as well as restoring cities to their natural glory.