City authorities should focus on the rare resource of space in order to encourage the uptake of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and discourage solo trips by car, according to a new report from the Centre on Regulation in Europe (CERRE).
Ridesharing, carsharing and bikesharing schemes often complement public transport, especially by supplying first and last mile solutions, and by serving areas where public transport is not financially viable. Such transport alternatives can help to minimise the disadvantages of switching from a private car to public and/or active transport (i.e. walking and cycling).
However, unless shared mobility replaces solo trips by car at a large scale, the impacts on congestion, pollution and CO2 emissions are likely to be neutral at best, the report says.
Across Europe, local transport policies strive to encourage car drivers to switch to public transport. But success is often limited due to the apparent trouble of using other transportation modes compared to the convenience of private cars.
“If cities are to effectively reduce congestion and pollution, regulation of access to cities must change dramatically. Until now, the constraints on the use of cars have largely remained low,” the authors of the report explain. “An approach promising individual time savings will not benefit the collective interest. To be efficient, policies should focus primarily on the rarest resource for the community: space. Transport authorities must intervene on the uses of roads, sidewalks and pedestrian zones.”
Specifically, policies on the use of roads should discourage the use of individual cars and incentivise ridesharing, the authors suggest.
“As long as individual cars can move freely and on the same roads and use services in the same conditions as shared vehicles, it is unlikely that MaaS and shared mobility will be successful,” they conclude.