By Pieter van de Glind

Car sharing is growing fast. Sharing economy marketplaces like Snappcar and Mywheels enable every car owner to ‘upload’ their cars on their websites so that neighbours can rent them. Traditionally, innovative car renting schemes like Greenwheels and Car2Go, and more recently, Drivenow and a number of similar initiatives have enabled people to rent cars on-demand in their neighbourhoods. Both the sharing economy platforms and the innovative car renting schemes reduce the need for car ownership. 

Car sharing is reaching critical mass fast . Now local entrepreneurs and multinational developers are rethinking real estate development to enable carsharing. That is why, at the Benelux Car sharing Symposium last month, we organized an in-dept session on real estate and car sharing, which I moderated. The room was packed, and time was flying by quickly. Our speakers: Edward Zevenbergen (BPD), Kris Moonen (Garage Swap) en Tom Scholten (Bink36),  and the audience which included local policy makers, researchers and entrepreneurs working for Greenwheels and DriveNnow, felt we needed more time. What did we learn?

1.    Car sharing can be the only solution in places where financing parking spaces and cars are expensive.
2.    Flexible workspaces are likely to attract people who like flexible mobility solutions such as car sharing.
3.    Real estate developers and entrepreneurs do not always have a clear picture of their target group for car sharing. While innovative car rental companies and sharing economy platforms have a much better picture of current demand for car sharing.
4.    Both local car sharing cooperatives, project developers, car rental companies and sharing economy platforms struggle with inserting the societal benefits of car sharing into their business cases. Since cars weigh heavily on cities governments could consider lower prices for carsharing parking places. Both the public and private sector could use Impact Bonds to give back societal value to those who invest in car sharing.
5.    In every concept where real estate is redesigned for car sharing it is essential to inform potential inhabitants well about the alternative(s) you create for car ownership.

There is still a significant and largely untapped opportunity for rethinking real estate for car sharing. During the coming months we will dig deeper with new blog posts. We will start with looking at what consumers want when looking at real estate and car sharing. What are your ideas on this topic?

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