Carsharing aims to complement the existing public transport system by providing on demand and short-term access to public automobiles. Carsharing separates car use from vehicle ownership. It intends to reduce the car population in a city to prevent traffic congestion and reduce pollution. Carsharing solutions have spread in western countries where local governments see them as convenient ways to reduce parking needs in the city centers and improve overall transportation efficiency. However, the concept is still very new in China.
In 2009, China became the world’s biggest auto market. By 2012, 14.7 million new cars were hitting China’s roads. This has led to a dramatic increase in the congestion and pollution problems in major cities. Municipalities, including Beijing, have adopted specific policies that limit the annual growth of private vehicle ownership and control when they can be used. There is therefore an opportunity for Chinese policy makers and researchers to further explore the potential of carsharing systems as part of the traffic congestion and pollution solution in each of China’s cities. For full Executive Summary, download PDF: Car sharing – A Solution to Traffic Bottlenecks in China