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Study: Replacing Private Cars In Urban Areas With Shared Mobility Services Reduces Car Numbers, Carbon Emissions, & Parking Needs

The replacement of private car traffic in urban areas with shared mobility services reduces the number of cars needed, carbon dioxide emissions, and parking needs, according to a new study from the International Transport Forum (ITF).

The replacement of private car traffic in urban areas with shared mobility services reduces the number of cars needed, carbon dioxide emissions, and parking needs, according to a new study from the International Transport Forum (ITF).

While the findings are the result of a study focused on the implementation of shared mobility services in Helsinki, Finland, the findings are considered to be broadly applicable — and to largely validate earlier simulation results from ITF simulations using mobility data from Lisbon (Portugal).

For the study, road trips that would otherwise occur via private car, taxi, or bus were replaced with trips via different configurations of 6-seater shared taxis offering on-demand door-to-door service, or trips occurring via taxi-bus service from street-corner-to-street-corner (booked 30 minutes in advance).

According to the study, using this setup, all of the car journeys occurring in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area now could be replaced with a fleet just 4% of the size of the current private vehicle fleet.

Unsurprisingly, the outcome as regards carbon emissions and congestion reductions was best when all private car trips were replaced with shared rides via taxi-bus service. In those circumstances, carbon dioxide emissions from cars could be slashed by 34%; congestion would be reduced by 37%; and large amounts of parking space would be opened up for other uses.

Green Car Congress provides more: “Shared mobility also means fewer transfers, less waiting and shorter travel times compared to traditional public transport. The improved quality of the service could attract car users that currently do not use public transport and foster a shift away from individual car travel.”

“… Finally, the Helsinki study confirms that shared mobility services can be highly effective feeder services for high-capacity public transport services. As in the Lisbon case, scenarios providing first- and last-mile shared services showed that this can increase rail and metro ridership between 15% and 23%.

“The benefits of shared mobility for the Helsinki Metropolitan Area were highly significant in the simulation, yet lower than in the Lisbon case. Replacing all motorized road trips (private car, bus and taxi) with shared services reduced transport CO2 emissions by 62% in the Lisbon case, while the reduction for the Helsinki Metropolitan Area was 28%. This is because the Helsinki region has a good public transport offer in international comparison and people walk and cycle more. The current motorized road share in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area is 56% compared to 70% for Lisbon, meaning there is less room for improvement to start with.”

Interestingly, the study was accompanied by a survey which found that there’s broad support for the rollout of shared mobility services throughout the whole metropolitan area — not just in Helsinki’s city center. In particular, use of shared mobility services as feeders to metro and rail lines was reported as being of high interest.

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Written By

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.


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