Many studies show that carsharing reduces transportation costs for a large segment of the population. Carsharing also reduces the number of private vehicles on the road because carshare members do not purchase their own cars. However, the traditional carsharing business model is difficult to scale geographically to neighborhoods with lower population densities because the operator must bear the upfront fixed cost of purchasing or leasing the vehicles in the fleet. In contrast to traditional carsharing, peer-to-peer (P2P) carsharing allows car owners to convert their personal vehicles into shared cars that can be rented to other drivers on a short-term basis. This model helps to improve the situation in which most privately owned vehicles sit idle more than 90% of the day. P2P carsharing alleviates upfront costs and thus is more economically consistent with lower-density neighborhoods than is traditional carsharing. As a result, P2P carsharing provides greater potential for car  accessibility than traditional carsharing does. Several new service companies are dedicated to P2P carsharing. A methodology was developed to assess the market feasibility of P2P carsharing. The methodology was applied to develop a case study of P2P carsharing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The market for P2P carsharing was found to be economically viable. However, uncertain and fragmented public policy and car insurance regimes threatened the growth and investment in P2P carsharing.

The paper explores the feasibility of a scalable form of carsharing, called peer-to-peer (P2P) carsharing. P2P carsharing allows car owners to convert their personal vehicles into share cars that can be rented to other drivers on a short-term basis. As of 2007, more than 237 million private vehicles were owned and operated in the United States. This business model helps to alleviate the situation in which most privately owned vehicles sit idle over 90% of the day. The utilization requirements are greatly reduced, and much of the risk of geographic expansion is removed with P2P carsharing.

CONCLUSION

Given the increasing costs of private car ownership and the increasing worldwide focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions attributable to transportation, development of both supply-side and demand-side innovations are required. One such demand-side innovation is mainstream adoption of carsharing. An established stream of literature has documented the many benefits of carsharing to individuals and the planet. However, current business models of traditional carsharing providers hinder their scalability to areas with less dense populations.
P2P carsharing aims to provide a scalable form of carsharing, with the potential to address both the high costs of private vehicle ownership and decrease greenhouse gas emissions. The paper develops a methodology to assess the feasibility of P2P carsharing in a given area and the economic incentives to market participants.

Please note: this article represents a summary of the paper written by Robert C. Hampshire and Craig Gaites, and published on Transportation Research Record. Read the full paper at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/281590386_Peer-to-peer_carsharing_Market_analysis_and_potential_growth