Could Vehicle Sharing become Mainstream Travel? Summit to Address the Way Forward

Shared-Use Mobility Summit, San Francisco, October 10-11, 2013
August 27, 2013
San José, CA

Transportation is often the second-largest expense for a typical household, following the cost of housing. But suppose shared vehicles could reduce that expense enough to make a real difference. Would anyone sign on? How would shared-use operators be regulated? Could vehicle sharing reduce congestion and pollution? Those are a few of the questions to be addressed at the Shared-Use Mobility Summit, Thursday-Friday, October 10-11, at the Hilton San Francisco Financial District. For information and registration, go to

The summit will initiate policy discussions to help attendees understand and generate ideas for shared-use mobility in its many forms, including carsharing, bikesharing, ridesharing, and emerging sharing options. Organizers will host representatives from regulatory and planning agencies, along with allied industries, such as auto insurance companies, vehicle manufacturers, and technology providers. The goal is to help shape the agenda for next steps, education/outreach, industry-wide collaboration, policy development, and future research.

The program addresses key issues

The summit program will include several discussion sessions, including “The Sharing Economy: Scaling the Shared-Use Mobility Marketplace;” “Insuring Shared-Use Mobility Services;” “Bikesharing: Funding 2.0;” “Fostering Multi-Modal Integration and Public Transit Connections;” “The Future of Mobility and Transportation policy and Planning;” and more.

Featured speakers include Guy Fraker, co-founding CEO at get2kno, Inc.; Ed Reskin, San Francisco Director of Transportation; Timothy Papandreou, a deputy director at San Francisco MTA; Gabe Klein, Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner; Lisa Gansky, author of the The Mesh; Caroline Samponaro, a senior director with Transportation Alternatives; Alan Woodland, executive director of Carsharing Association; Marzia Zafar, a director with the California Public Utilities Commission; Susan Shaheen of UC Berkeley, and others.

Zipcar, bike rentals are already familiar

“These shared uses can be integrated and linked with public transit,” said Susan Shaheen, PhD, co-director of the UC Berkeley Transportation Sustainability Research Center. “Shared mobility is already familiar through carsharing companies like City CarShare and Zipcar or through bike sharing kiosks. Dynamic-ridesharing systems, like Carma, are part of this, as are other types of sharing networks such as Sidecar and Lyft. It’s evolving into a new industry.”

The overall goals, said Dr. Shaheen, include helping to provide more mobility choices, reducing traffic congestion, filling empty seats, mitigating various forms of pollution, helping people control transportation costs, reducing fossil fuel consumption, reducing pressures on parking spaces, and improving efficiency. Employment opportunities are created through these services as well. It also provides transportation choices for those who cannot afford to buy and maintain a vehicle.

Shared mobility has evolved

This is not a new concept. Car-sharing (or ridesharing) clubs were widespread during World War II, when resources were scarce for civilian use. Carpooling helped conserve rubber, gasoline, vehicle manufacturing, and other critical products. During the energy crisis of the Seventies, people returned to sharing their rides. And just before that, the first bikesharing program was launched in 1965 in Amsterdam.

Today, technology has allowed riders to match up with drivers, even for a single ride. Bicycles can be shared by accessing kiosks by swiping a credit or membership card. Cars can be accessed by the minute and the hour (roundtrip and point-to-point), and some drivers are now leaving their personal cars at shared-use lots so others can rent them. Peer-to-peer carsharing services, like RelayRides and Getraound, are also enabling individuals across the nation to share their personal vehicles.

Challenges remain

Recent controversies have sprung up over the role of public policy in this arena. “The operators of many of these innovative services are not strictly commercial carriers, like taxis and buses,” said Dr. Shaheen. “Some taxi companies have complained about what they believe is unfair competition in cities across the nation. A lively transportation dialogue has begun about the legal and regulatory impacts and possible requirements for emerging sharing options. We will address these issues at the summit and explore possible next steps for integrating shared-use mobility into future transportation policy and planning.”


Shared-Use Mobility Summit sponsors include U.S. Federal Highway Administration, State Farm, Toyota, Enterprise Car Share, Capitol Corridor, Cubic, Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Ridesharing Institute, Transportation Research Board, the California Department of Transportation, UC Berkeley Transportation Sustainability Center, SMART, get2kno, zimride, Carsharing Association, Mineta Transportation Institute, Car2go, Zipcar, DriveNow,, ITS America, ITS California, meshlabs, and others.