UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The evolution of carsharing : heterogeneity in adoption and impacts Namazu, Michiko


The focus of this thesis lies on understanding how heterogeneity in carsharing (CS) and members at different stages of its adoption in society shape its impacts on Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and car ownership. Past studies have two shortcomings: they do not acknowledge the bias that could arise due to the keen interest of early adopters, and they did not tease out the role of service type in observing outcomes of interest. The serial studies in this thesis found the potential of CS to reduce GHGs and vehicle dependency. However, this does not mean that CS promises to always provide these benefits to everyone. The positive effects found among early adopters do not guarantee that the same effects would be realized among coming adopters especially because early adopters of CS are atypical of the general public in many individual and household characteristics. This is the one of the two primary findings from this thesis: the dynamics of CS service diffusion. As the adoption stage matures, the usage and roles of CS would be changing hence the effects. The second primary finding is the importance of heterogeneity between CS services. Two distinct CS services were found to have different impacts in vehicle ownership change, suggesting that the heterogeneities among CS services affect how the services are utilized; hence what kind of effects the CS services bring to society. Policy makers often generalize various CS services as CS; however, the heterogeneities will need a more careful attention and specifically tailored policies in order to ensure CS impacts continue to align with sound urban transport policy. These dynamic changes will affect how CS services should be maintained. Managing shared properties has been a challenging issue, and this may become even more difficult with more diverse users and CS service models. Active knowledge sharing and collaborations among stakeholders (policy makers, CS providers, and scholars) may be a kay factor to bring further benefits to all. As CS carries the word of “sharing”, if these stakeholders could build a better collaborative “sharing” environment, a large part of the potential of CS may be feasible.

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