Promotional campaign targets Hungary and neighbouring countries
A successful two-year campaign to promote mobility sharing in Hungary and surrounding countries concluded in June. Car sharing, carpooling and bike sharing, along with other innovative mobility services, appear to be opening up as niche markets in the region. There are a number of individual motorised transport alternatives that offer sustainability credits, while at the same time making it more fun to get from point "A" to point "B". The introduction of different schemes for sharing vehicles guarantees their more efficient use, supports greenhouse gas emission reduction, decreases the number of privately owned vehicles, and opens up more urban space for public use. And the list goes on.
Hungary's first car sharing service, Avalon Car(e)Sharing, brought up the initiative initially, while the Regional Environmental Center (REC) contributed to the initiative's success by deploying experts from its Smart Cities and Mobility team. The initiative got off the ground with a series of meetings between municipal politicians and public transport companies in Budapest, Bratislava and Krakow. Afterwards, information days, open air roadshows and conference presentations were organised in Hungary, Slovakia and Poland to raise public awareness. Several study tours were also organised for Avalon management personnel during which they were able to take on board European good practices.
Mobilising a wide range of transport stakeholders, a sharing mobility roundtable was held in December 2014 in Budapest. The meeting resulted the preparation of a Hungary-based association to continue with work that the REC has started.
Car sharing (US)-or car clubs (UK)-is a model in which people rent cars for short periods of time, often by the hour. The scheme is attractive to people who make only occasional use of a vehicle, but also to others who might like to have access to a different vehicle type than the one they use from day to day. The rental organisation might be a commercial business, but also might be run a public company, public agency, cooperative or ad hoc group.
A bicycle sharing system, public bicycle system, or bike share scheme, is a service in which bicycles are made available for shared use to individuals on a very short-term basis. Bike share schemes allow people to borrow a bike from point "A" and return it at point "B", which allows each bike to serve several users per day. Many bike share systems offer subscriptions that make the first 30-45 minutes of use either free or very inexpensive. In most cities with a bike share system, casual riding over several hours or days is better served by bicycle rental than by bike share. Many systems employ smartphone mapping apps to show nearby stations with available bikes and open docks.
Carpooling (also ride-sharing, lift-sharing and covoiturage) is the sharing of car journeys so that more than one person travels in a car. By having more people using one vehicle, carpooling reduces each person's travel costs-such as fuel costs and tolls-and eases the stress of driving. Carpooling is a more environmentally friendly and sustainable way to travel, as sharing journeys reduces carbon emissions, traffic congestion on the roads, and the need for parking spaces. Authorities often encourage carpooling, especially during periods of high pollution periods or high fuel prices.
Business of the future
According to a 2014 study, conducted by RolandBerger Strategy Consultants, in terms of revenue, the mobility sector is one of the fastest-growing segments of the shared economy in terms of revenue (20 to 35 percent annually). The study also finds that 50 percent of car owners in industrialised countries would, in principle, share their vehicle with others.
This segment of the economy is using technologies of the future such as e-vehicles, satellite-based tracking, intelligent vehicle booking and billing software etc. Large growth potential and the use of digital technologies are giving many start-ups a chance to find their place in the world of socially innovative urban services, thereby helping to shrink our ecological footprint while satisfying growing mobility needs.