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Peer-to-Peer CarsharingExploring Public Perception and Market Characteristicsin the San Francisco Bay Area, CaliforniaIngrid Ballús-Armet, Susan A. Shaheen, Kelly Clonts, and David Weinzimmerphysical items. These include websites, such as JustShareIt.com, whichfacilitate equipment sharing; Airbnb.com and Couchsurfing.com,which enable one to locate short-term lodging; and Zimride.com andCar.ma, which connect drivers and passengers. The proliferation ofsmartphone technology and social networking sites is a noteworthycultural shift that has influenced the development of peer-to-peercarsharing. The sharing economy is developing a growing presencein society, and peer-to-peer carsharing is one of many shared-usemobility services that are focused on transportation resource sharing.Given the recent growth and development of the peer-to-peercarsharing model, gauging the public perception of this service canfurther understanding of its market potential, as well as opportunities and barriers to adoption. This study evaluates the relationshipsbetween car ownership, frequency in car and public transit use, andawareness and perception of peer-to-peer carsharing through anintercept survey (N 300) that was collected in the spring and summer of 2013 in Oakland and San Francisco, California. The studyexamines public awareness of carsharing, including similarities anddifferences in attitudes toward classic round-trip carsharing models,such as CityCarshare and Zipcar, and peer-to-peer carsharing services,including Getaround and RelayRides. This research identified keyelements of peer-to-peer carsharing that are most attractive to users,as well as those that pose the most notable adoption barriers. The surveyalso considers the potential relationship between participation in thelarger sharing economy (e.g., house sharing, ridesharing, carpooling,classic carsharing) and openness to peer-to-peer carsharing.The paper has five key sections. The first section provides a literature review of carsharing and the sharing economy. Next, the surveymethodology is discussed. Third, a demographic analysis of the surveypopulation is presented. In the following two sections, the results ofthe intercept survey and conclusions are discussed.Peer-to-peer carsharing is an innovative approach to vehicle sharingin which vehicle owners temporarily rent their personal automobiles toothers in their surrounding area. Peer-to-peer carsharing belongs tothe larger sharing economy, an economic model premised on the notionof collaborative consumption as opposed to ownership. This studyexamined public perception of peer-to-peer carsharing and potential market characteristics through an intercept survey conducted in theSan Francisco Bay Area, California. Three hundred respondents from14 locations in San Francisco (n 5 150) and Oakland (n 5 150), Cali fornia, were polled on their existing attitudes toward and perceptions ofclassic carsharing, peer-to-peer carsharing, and the sharing economy.The survey results indicate that there remains a low awareness of peerto-peer carsharing, with fewer than 50% of San Francisco respondentsand 25% of Oakland respondents having heard of the term. Approximately 25% of surveyed vehicle owners would be willing to share theirpersonal vehicles through peer-to-peer carsharing, citing liability andtrust concerns as primary deterrents. Those who drove almost everyday were less open to renting through peer-to-peer, while those whoused public transit at least once per week expressed a greater interestin it. Overall, the results of this study indicate considerable interest inpeer-to-peer carsharing: 60% of San Francisco respondents and 75%of Oakland respondents without vehicle access would consider renting a peer-to-peer vehicle. The top three reasons for using peer-to-peercarsharing are convenience and availability, monetary savings, andexpanded mobility options. Further outreach and education are neededto raise awareness of this mobility innovation.Carsharing is an alternative to car ownership that enables individualsto enhance their mobility without the maintenance and storage costsassociated with private vehicle ownership. Peer-to-peer carsharingis an innovative shared-use vehicle model under which privatelyowned vehicles are available for use by members in the surroundingarea on an hourly or daily basis.Peer-to-peer start-ups belong to a suite of online organizations thathave helped to facilitate the growth of the “sharing economy” and“collaborative consumption” model. These online organizations provide an Internet platform through which individuals are able to shareLiterature ReviewWhile sharing resources is not a fundamentally new model of socialinteraction, the presence of a “sharing economy” is a growing, innovative concept. The sharing economy is an economic model basedon sharing assets among groups of people rather than owning them(1). It is described by San Francisco Planning and Urban Researchas “fundamentally capitalist yet simultaneously more socially andenvironmentally conscious,” and it is hailed by many as an opportunity to enhance the sustainability of the current economy whilesimultaneously yielding various additional co-benefits (e.g., emission reduction, fuel savings) (2). High levels of online connectivity,“living local” community-oriented awareness, and heightened costconsciousness and environmental issues have aided the sharingI. Ballús-Armet, K. Clonts, and D. Weinzimmer, Institute of Transportation Studies,University of California, Berkeley, 109 McLaughlin Hall, and S. A. Shaheen,Transportation Sustainability Research Center, University of California, Berkeley,408 McLaughlin Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720. Corresponding author: S. A. Shaheen,[email protected] Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board,No. 2416, Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington,D.C., 2014, pp. 27–36.DOI: 10.3141/2416-0427

28 economy in gaining traction (1). The sharing economy allows for thesharing of a wide range of property, such as home sharing, ridesharing,bikesharing, carsharing, and more.Carsharing is one of the most popular subsets of the sharingeconomy and operates within a number of different frameworks.At present, there are three main forms of carsharing: (a) classic,round-trip carsharing; (b) one-way (or point-to-point) carsharing;and (c) peer-to-peer carsharing (usually round trip). A classic, roundtrip carsharing organization is defined as a for-profit or nonprofitcarsharing organization (CSO) that provides vehicle access on anhourly or daily basis to its members, who typically pay a monthlyor annual membership fee. The CSO usually operates an onlinevehicle reservation system and oversees vehicles located at specified parking spaces within local neighborhoods, college campuses, orbusinesses. Individual carsharing vehicles are equipped with remoteaccess technology that allows members to access their reservedvehicle during their reservation period with a “fob” or keycard.Carsharing allocates the fixed costs of owning a vehicle over manyusers and reduces the inefficiency of personal vehicle ownership,since automobiles remain idle an average of 95% of the time (3). Asof January 2013, there were more than a million carsharing users inNorth America alone (4). One-way carsharing enables a carsharingmember to return a shared vehicle to a different location from whereit was picked up.Trust is critical to the success of the sharing economy and itsongoing growth. Airbnb, a site that enables individuals to share theirliving spaces with others, has placed an emphasis on cultivatingtrust among its users. After an incident in which an Airbnb host’sproperty was vandalized by a guest (5), the site launched a Trust andSafety Department and instituted a host insurance guarantee thatcurrently insures hosts for up to US 1 million per booking (6, 7 ).Social media integration is likewise an important tool that Airbnbuses to increase customer trust.The carsharing and ridesharing sectors have also had a challengingtime establishing trust among users. With respect to ridesharing, usersare sometimes wary of riding in a vehicle belonging to someone theydo not know (8). Some platforms have sought to address concernsaround trust by limiting ridesharing to a closed environment, such asa workplace or university. Other approaches rely primarily on ratingsystems and integration with other social networks to establish credibility among users or instead to enable users to readily share withindividuals already within their extended social networks (9).Peer-to-peer carsharing, the focus of this paper, employs privately owned vehicles made temporarily available for shared use byan individual or members of a peer-to-peer company, with pickupand drop-off locations agreed on between the two parties (typicallyround trip). The owners of these privately shared vehicles profitfrom transactions with renters, although in most cases a peer-to-peerthird-party company facilitates the rental. Peer-to-peer companiesprovide insurance and operate websites to connect vehicle ownerswith renters. In exchange for providing these services, peer-to-peeroperators in turn keep a portion of the usage fee. Although vehiclesshared within a peer-to-peer platform are generally older than thosethat comprise classic carsharing fleets, peer-to-peer carsharing offersa greater selection of locations, vehicle types, and daily and hourlyrental prices than classic and one-way carsharing. In June 2013, therewere nine personal vehicle-sharing operators (one of nine in pilotphase), three planned, and eight defunct in North America (4).By directly connecting vehicle owners with would-be renters, someargue that peer-to-peer carsharing is a more direct manifestation ofcollaborative consumption than classic or one-way carsharing (10),Transportation Research Record 2416because it promotes the sharing of already-owned underused assetsin contrast to a company-maintained vehicle fleet. In addition tofacilitating the sharing of existing resources, the peer-to-peer modelcan significantly reduce operating costs; vehicle capital comprisesalmost 70% of total operating expenses for classic carsharing companies, for example (1). Nevertheless, peer-to-peer carsharing facesnotable adoption barriers, which include insurance cost and availability, fear of sharing and lack of trust, challenges around balancingrevenue and pricing, the expense of technological solutions, vehicleavailability, and assurance of vehicle reliability (1).Liability issues are also critically important to peer-to-peer carsharing. Personal vehicle insurance policies are generally not validwhile a vehicle is being rented or leased to others, and using one’spersonal car for commercial enterprises can lead to cancellation ofinsurance coverage in many states (11, 12). California, Oregon, andWashington have passed laws protecting car owners who engage inpersonal vehicle sharing (AB 1871, HB 3149, and HB 2384, respectively, where AB is assembly bill and HB is home bill). These lawscategorize shared personal vehicles as a noncommercial use, whichenables them to be insured through a secondary policy while beingrented. When an owner uses his or her private vehicle, he or she isresponsible for having a personal insurance policy; however, whenit is being shared or rented, a peer-to-peer company provides a secondary auto insurance policy. In states where no such laws exist,owners are at risk when sharing their vehicle; they assume possibledamages and liabilities on behalf of the person renting their vehicleabove and beyond the peer-to-peer insurance. Furthermore, insurance companies may view personal vehicle sharing as altering theowner’s risk profile, which may result in insurance premium spikesor nonrenewal of insurance policies (1, 12).There has been limited research to date on the issue of trust withinthe peer-to-peer carsharing model. A 2010 study found that morethan half of survey respondents were reluctant to share their personal vehicles with others because of lack of trust. User rating andfeedback, operator screening and selection, and integration withsocial networks were cited as key mechanisms to help address trustconsiderations (1). This paper seeks to expand the literature thatpertains to peer-to-peer carsharing by furthering understandingof the public’s perception toward this mobility innovation and itspotential adoption barriers.MethodologyAn intercept survey was designed to address the following questions: Have people heard about classic and peer-to-peer carsharing?Would people consider participating in peer-to-peer carsharing?What aspects of peer-to-peer carsharing elicit the most concern fromrespondents? Do current car owners differ from nonowners in theirresponses to what they perceive as positive and negative attributesof peer-to-peer carsharing? How do car ownership, frequency inautomobile and public transit use, and demographics relate to peerto-peer carsharing perceptions? How does openness to peer-to-peercarsharing compare with other sharing economy services, such ashouse sharing? This section includes a description of the surveyimplementation, as well as study limitations and response rate.Survey ImplementationPublic perceptions of peer-to-peer carsharing and market characteristics were explored in an on-street intercept survey between February

Ballús-Armet, Shaheen, Clonts, and Weinzimmer 29(a)(b)FIGURE 1   Number of surveys administered at locations in (a) San Francisco and (b) Oakland.and March 2013 (Oakland) and June and July 2013 (San Francisco).An initial pretest of the survey format led to several modifications,including shortening the survey length. One hundred fifty surveyswere administered at nine locations in San Francisco, and another150 were collected at five locations in Oakland. Figure 1 displaysthe locations in San Francisco and Oakland where surveys wereimplemented in addit