This primer synthesizes existing literature on the definitions and types of shared mobility services available, reviews North American shared mobility impact studies; discusses the government’s role; reviews success stories; examines challenges, lessons learned, and proposed solutions; and concludes with guiding principles for public agencies. The study aims to provide an overview of this emerging field and current understanding—as in the years to come, shared mobility will continue to evolve and develop. Shared mobility services reviewed in this study include bike sharing, car sharing, carpooling, on-demand car sharing, scooter sharing, van pooling, car rental, casual carpooling, Courier Network Services (CNS) (also referred to as flexible goods delivery), limousines, taxis, pedicabs, public transportation, and shuttles.
Development of this primer was made possible by 23 specialists and practitioners that conducted an expert review of this primer and participated in a one-day workshop in June 2015 to discuss shared mobility and how to help public agencies develop supportive policies and programs. This study led to the following lessons learned:
- Embrace public and private collaboration and recognize the need for consistent public and private sector standards and definitions across a suite of shared mobility service models that guide public policy and distinguish between types of services for users.
- Collect data and consider compulsory reporting requirements. Public agencies should develop metrics, modeling, planning platforms, and methodologies to measure the economic and travel impact of shared mobility such as vehicle miles traveled (VMT) or vehicle kilometers traveled (VKT) , person miles traveled, commute travel time, etc., such that local, state, and federal public agencies can incorporate it as an integral component of land use and transportation planning.
- Recognize shared mobility as a key component of transportation policy and planning, particularly in light of their potential impacts on the transportation ecosystem and land use in the future.
- Inform and involve the public in planning processes and to listen to the public’s concerns in implementing shared mobility services.
- Encourage multimodal integration for providing seamless transportation options.
- Address potential accessibility issues as the systems expand and evolve to be inclusive of all segments of society.
- Understand insurance issues pertaining to regulation, availability, and affordability across a wide array of existing and emerging shared business and service models.
- Balance data sharing needs (open data) with consumer protection, while at the same time recognizing proprietary considerations.