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Fewer cars, reduced greenhouse gas emissions thanks to car-share programs: research

Last Updated Jul 20, 2016 at 9:08 am PDT

(Photo credit: Dustin Godfrey for NEWS 1130)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – As the City of Vancouver launches its long-anticipated bike-sharing program today, we’re learning more about the impacts of the so-called “sharing economy.”

A new study is suggesting Car2Go has had a major impact on the number of private vehicles on our roads, and the amount of greenhouse gasses they emit.

The number of private vehicles owned by Car2Go members went down by more than 8,200 last year, according to the team out of the University of California at Berkeley.

Co-Director of the university’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center, Dr. Susan Shaheen says about twice as many members as there are Car2Go vehicles in the city say they’ve chosen to sell their own cars.

Others have decided against buying one.

“So the range is essentially two to nine vehicles are taken off the road, approximately or on average, for every Car2Go vehicle,” Shaheen explains.

“And what we found was about a 16% reduction in vehicle miles traveled, and we also found corresponding to that, a 15% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions resulting from use of these services by these households.”

The researchers think those people signed up may have prevented up to 10,000 tonnes of greenhouse emissions from being released.

A majority of members in Vancouver also say they take both taxis and buses less frequently than they used to.

Along with Vancouver, the study covered San Diego, Seattle, Calgary and Washington, D.C.