Is the travel behavior changing the world over? What is “On-demand” mobility? What is the future of urban mobility in modern cities?
A billion cars can certainly create a hole in the environment – those same billion cars can also cause traffic congestion, fuel wastage, and higher pollution levels – all costing billions of dollars to the world economy. And yet see new models being launched each year by the car makers – as if this problem doesn’t exist!
Many studies and statistics show that by 2050, the average urban dweller will spend roughly 106 hours (or 4.4 days) a year stuck in traffic jams – three times more than today – and this is just stuck, commuting time is separate.
So what are the options? Can carsharing networks also work in Indian cities as they are becoming successful in American and European cities?
Car sharing is a very simple idea at its core but getting people to think about it differently is where the challenge lies. These car sharing networks seem to have achieved that successfully by delivering cars on-demand.
According to a recent report by carpooling.com, smartphones, social networks and intermodal transportation platforms are the future of mobility and are changing the way we travel and the way we organize our lives. The ensuing pressure to devise more efficient and more flexible transport systems has resulted in a significant surge in popularity for new forms of sustainable mobility such as carpooling and ridesharing platforms.
Carpooling.com is the Europe’s largest car sharing network and transports a million people each month, thus avoiding 725,000 tonnes of carbon emissions.
Zip car is another car sharing network in America that is transforming the way people view travel.
Whip car is also a car sharing platform that takes it to another level – people own cars and most of the time those cars sit idle – why not rent out the car to someone in one’s own neighbourhood!
Smartphone technology, increased connectivity, and proliferation of social networks are the main drivers of the mobility patterns that we see now.
India, where there are more mobile phones than toilets, where technology is fast adapted, can I as a regular commuter take solace what these carsharing networks are achieving in other parts of the world?
Here’s my case: If I choose to go by metro train line in my daily commute to work, I’ll take exactly an hour – but that hour is excruciatingly – painful! I go standing all the way – not only that, the train is jam-packed, with hardly any room to take out my smart phone to pass that hour. If I choose to go by car, it costs me 5 times as much, takes an hour and half in ruthless and reckless driving conditions and traffic jams – in short, both options are painful, stressful and can cause serious long term damage to my health.