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The Establishment of Employer Based Car Sharing Schemes in West Yorkshire.

By P.W. Bonsall, A. Spencer and W.S. Tang


This paper describes the initial findings of an SSRC sponsored project to establish and monitor organised car sharing schemes in West Yorkshire. It follows from an earlier project funded by the TRRL, which aimed to predict the likely outcome of such schemes using micro-simulation methods. The removal of most of the legal obstacles to car sharing in November 1978 made it possible to establish and monitor the effectiveness of actual schemes and to check upon the validity of the earlier models.\ud \ud With the help of West Yorkshire County Council, three major employers were approached and agreed to co-operate. Following initial surveys aimed at describing existing commuting patterns, all employees were circulated with application forms affording them the opportunity to give lifts to, receive lifts from, or to pool cars with fellow- commuters. Compatible applicants were matched by manual means and informed of prospective partners. At all three sites, discounts on automotive products were offered as an inducement to carsharers and at one, free reserved car parking spaces were also made available.\ud \ud Applications to join the schemes were received from less than 7% of the workforces and less than 2% of the workforces actually became carsharers as a result of the scheme.\ud \ud About two thirds of the arrangements involved simple lift giving, with the same person driving at all times and receiving payments from passengers to cover costs. The remainder were carpools in which people took turns to drive. There appears to be evidence that this form of arrangement is adopted primarily to release the car for use at home rather than to save costs. \ud \ud The net effect of the scheme is an insignificant (<0.5%) reduction in work journey car mileage and a somewhat larger, though still marginal abstraction of public transport patronage.\ud \ud These findings broadly correspond to those of the earlier microsimulation models. Though detailed deviations occur, the experiments bear out the model's predictions that the effects of this type of carsharing scheme are likely to be extremely modest and the communitx benefits are unlikely to justify the costs of administration unless the impacts can be magnified or localised. \ud \ud The experience gained in running these experiments may prove useful to others contemplating the establishment of schemes elsewhere. \u

Publisher: Institute of Transport Studies, University of Leeds
Year: 1980
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