As traffic congestion and the personal cost of travel continue to increase many of us are looking for alternative ways to move around our city.

Our cars can be parked for much of the time, and on average we’re driving less than 14,000km per year, yet it can cost around $12,000 on average to run our cars.  Owning a first or second car is therefore not always economically viable.

For those of us who don’t rely on our cars for our day-to-day activities, but still want the freedom and convenience of access to a car when we need it, car sharing could be an attractive option.

Car sharing, which provides short term access to motor vehicles for personal and business use, offers users the benefits of a car without the responsibilities of ownership and operation.  Services are intended for short and infrequent journeys, and as such they complement public transport.

Not only can car share reduce your personal transport costs but research shows that one car share vehicle can remove nine to thirteen private cars from our roads, helping to tackle congestion as well as reduce CO2 emissions.

Many cities around the world are seeing a shift in consumer behaviour, with the rise of sharing access to, rather than having ownership of, products and services.  We also know there is an increasing desire for reduced car usage amongst younger generations in particular.

RAC has undertaken research to explore the role of car sharing in Perth and whether our members and the wider community could benefit from access to such a service.

Car sharing will not work everywhere and there are many factors which will influence its success.  While Perth may not have the density of other Australian cities where car sharing operates, there are pockets with greater potential and there is an appetite amongst residents in these areas to use more sustainable modes.

From a survey of 800 RAC members and non-member we know that car sharing is appealing to those residing in inner Perth areas.  Almost half of respondents found the concept appealing, and one in four would use a car sharing service if one was available in their area, despite the concept being new to most.

RAC believes the establishment of a successful car share network, as part of our multi-modal transport system, could have an important role to help manage congestion and provide more mobility options for Western Australians.

For further information is available online regarding RAC’s paper entitled Exploring the role of car sharing Perth.