Development of Potential Performance Measures for Carsharing

Focus Area



Air Quality, Environmental Process




Under $99k


Under 1 year

Research Idea Scope

Over the past decade,
carsharing has evolved from an early-adopter stage to become a new mode of
transportation in urban areas across the country. While significant work has
been done to quantify the benefits and drawbacks of carsharing, little is known
about the operational and engineering aspects of a carsharing system. A
possible explanation for this lack of understanding is that all major
carsharing companies are profit-driven and thus guard their key performance
indices carefully.


This research effort is
driven by a desire to better understand how carsharing systems are performing
from the point of view of the city, the operator, and the end users. Through an
arrangement with car2go—the largest operator of one-way carsharing systems in
the world—the research team has secured access to the data necessary for
geospatial analysis of carsharing operations. A pilot showing a dynamic
visualization of the data is available at


The scope of the project
is expected to encompass the following items:


1. A literature review to
document the latest academic research on carsharing; 2. A data collection and
analysis phase to obtain up-to-date geospatial carsharing data; 3. A
methodology development phase, during which input from cities, carsharing
operators, and carsharing users will be sought to aid in the development of
potential performance measures; 4. A statistical analysis to perform regression
on the geospatial data set. It is expected that a neural network-based
regression approach will best model the complex interaction of vehicle supply
and demand; and 5. The development of simple coefficients and default factors
to enable the practitioner community to estimate carsharing performance without
extensive data collection.

Urgency and Payoff

Currently, cities and
agencies working with one-way carsharing companies must rely on the companies
to accurately report their use of public resources (e.g., on-street parking
spots). While it is in the companies’ best interest to accurately report their
usage, an independent third-party analysis would lend the performance reports
more credibility.


In addition, the proposed
research effort is tied directly to the goals of the MAP-21 Act, especially the
increased emphasis on performance monitoring and the interest in moving more
people with fewer resources. By proposing potential performance measures and
developing methods to estimate them, the proposed research would gauge the
potential of carsharing in meeting the objectives of its cities, operators, and


The research team believes
that carsharing is a powerful tool that can reduce car ownership, promote
alternative modes—especially transit and non-motorized modes—and raise
awareness of the true cost of an automobile trip.


By providing a deeper
understanding of the factors that make carsharing successful for all
stakeholders, the research team hopes to encourage more cities to explore this
innovative mode of transportation. The research would also employ data
visualization to the fullest extent, with the intent of engaging the public and
disseminating the results of the research in an accessible format.

Suggested By

Jorge Andres Barrios Kittelson & Associates, Inc. | UC Berkeley 407.373.1123

[email protected]