Quickly and easily identifying the characteristics of a city that is favorable to the development of a vehicle sharing service: an important issue for the mobility operators that are concerned about the viability of their offer, as well as for the policy makers who wish to implement new usages of urban mobility…
To feed these reflections, Inov360 jointly conducted a detailed analysis on the major cities of Western Europe and North America with the Canadian Agency movmi.
This study allowed to identify and measure various impacting components, and led to the creation of a Shared Mobility City Index (SMCI™).
From the outset of the reflections, the intention was always to work across two continents, where shared mobility is currently the most developed, and where global operators are located. The difficulty then focused on the establishment of common criteria that is also easily measurable on the two territories. However, multiple converging conclusions came from both parties despite well-known disparities in geographies and urban organizations.
Hence, situations where there is a lower use of private vehicles, or even where there is a proactive city policy for sustainable development, are favorable to the success of shared mobility. Similarly the pre-existence of services, even those who have contributed to the culture and the democratization of shared mobility, also creates favorable conditions for the development of new offers. The snowball effect to put it simply.
Focus on the approach
By exploring more than 20 criteria, the study found 5 major themes of analysis. This frame simultaneously considers several decisive axes, such as geography, urban policy, habits, or even the pressure on car ownership.
The main parameter, and the more immediate one, is the population density. Overall, and although the situation is different between America and Europe, a very dense city generates stronger constraints to the use of individual vehicles (congestion, difficult parking), and generally, offers a large number of alternative transport services. Therefore, the possession of an individual vehicle on a daily basis is not required. We note however, that the density of public transit cannot be assessed as a sufficient criterion for people to renounce the use of their individual vehicles.
Beyond urban density, the quality of public transport is also an influence. How can we objectively measure this parameter? And add an indicator of practices that is conducive to the use of shared mobility to this measure? For this, we have chosen a simple test that is available in all towns, and is truly impacting: the modal split of urban travel.
Thus, in Paris, 83% of journeys are taken outside of personal vehicles (walking, bike or public transport), while in London the percentage decreases to 60%, and even to 43% in Dublin. Very different contexts, which will affect the interest to propose shared mobility services.
Sustainable development policy
In addition to these objective realities, we should also consider the city’s pro-active policy to promote the establishment of services or stimulate new usages. For this, we studied several parameters, 9 in total in this field. On the one hand we have the local sustainability plans and the ambitions of the city (reduction of greenhouse gas emission, reduction of congestion), on the other hand we also have the policies for public space occupancy (slots reserved, permit parking) by shared mobility services, or even the subject of government granted authorizations.
The existence of shared mobility services
Shared mobility is an old concept, the first car-sharing community services date back to the 60’s. However, their democratization is recent, but real. Shared mobility services exist in most of the cities that we have studied. Thus, almost all of them offer self-service bicycles or are about to create or recreate a service.
It can be noted that the most advanced cities in shared mobility already have several competing services. Which certainly does not ensure profitability for all, as the market is still new. But the facts are there, the initial investment for pedagogy is backing it. It is not illogical to consider that a city is conducive to the introduction of new services if it is already well equipped. The issue will then reside in the differentiation and the relevance of the new offers, but the virtuous loop is already initiated.
We therefore measured the presence of car-sharing services, bike sharing, the extent of these services, the variety of offers, etc.
The financial pressure on car ownership
Finally, a last field of analysis focused on the pressure of the possession of a vehicle. The pressure on the use (congestion, parking problems) being correlated with the urban density criterion already considered, we have focused the research here on the financial aspect. For this, we used the cost of parking (a vehicle is parked more than 90% of the time), by studying a common parameter to all cities: car-park daily cost.
We did not include the cost of on-street parking, subject to high variations according to zones, typically limited in duration, and for which the offer is sometimes on very limited. We have therefore retained a more universal indicator, which remains indicative for a local context including on-street parking policy.
For this criterion of parking cost, there are also disparities according to cities, for example the average fee is three times higher in Copenhagen than in Brussels.
Summary and detail of the considered criteria
The table below details all of the parameters that were analyzed in order to carry out the SMCI™, in the five selected themes.
A weighting of these criteria allowed us to establish a rating (out of 100) for each of the 56 cities studied.
The results of the first edition of the SMCI™, supported by 2015 data, are available on a public website: http://sharedmobilityindex.com/
On it, the ranks of the different studied cities can compare, 28 in Western Europe, and 28 in North America. You can also filter the results according to the 5 themes of study.
The 2016 rankings have 8 European cities on the top 10 of the final table; the largest metropolises of the study area (Paris, London and New York) are in the top 10, as well as 3 German agglomerations, Germany being recognized as one of the most advanced countries in shared mobility. Copenhagen, Vienna and Ottawa are also part of the top of the table, mainly due to a rather high and homogeneous ranking on the majority of the studied themes, entailing a coherence of local politics.
The resulting ranking don’t claim to be unquestionable or to highlight “best and worst performers ».
They aim to illuminate the thoughts and choices in the sector of shared mobility, the facts or policies that impact directly the development of these new usages.
It is possible to contact the authors of the study if you have any comment or proposal in this sense, via the SMCI™ website.
On the fringe of this public synthesis, available on the internet, Inov360 and movmi have developed detailed analysis-backgrounders on each of these cities. These 56 reports, of a dozen pages each, study point-by-point each metropolis and their urban policies for all of the five themes of SMCI™. They are offered for sale on the SMCI™ website.
The criteria and the list of the cities studied in SMCI™ are intended to be revised in time, and indeed, the rankings may change; SMCI™ will be an annual publication.
What are the conclusions ?
SMCI™ takes into consideration both the factual information (density, modal split…) and the more political components (actions of the city, parking costs…). The interaction between these different components, but especially their overall coherence, is what generates a favorable context for the development of shared mobility.
In addition, as we have seen, injecting the pre-existence of shared mobility services in the index is not an overvaluation of the ranking of a city. Successfully launching a service, and ensuring its sustainability, assumes a very consistent effort of pedagogy and communication that is greatly reduced when others have already done it…
But this is not all: the relevance of an offer, the suitability of the service to a local reality and its various components (customer experience, rates…) are some of the ingredients that are also essential for success which SMCI™ is not able to measure. For this, experts will be able to give useful recommendations, shared mobility today is ready to benefit from the experiences and thus pass a new milestone!
The 28 Western European Cities: Amsterdam, Antwerp, Barcelona, Berlin, Birmingham, Brussels, Copenhagen, Dublin, Düsseldorf, Edinburgh, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Helsinki, Lisbon, London, Lyon, Madrid, Manchester, Milan, Munich, Oslo, Paris, Rome, Rotterdam, Stockholm, Stuttgart, Vienna, Zürich.
The 28 North American Cities: Ann Arbor, Atlanta, Baltimore, Calgary, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Jacksonville, Kitchener, London (Ontario), Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, Montreal, New York City, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Tampa, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington DC, Waterloo.