Shared Mobility – 
Mobility for use
(instead of ownership)

The transport policy ideas behind Shared Mobility pursue two clear goals: On the one hand, the expansion of shared mobility services should result in fewer cars and vehicles standing around and taking up valuable inner-city space (pointlessly). On the other hand, a constant use of vehicles can contribute to a reduction in traffic volume - especially if as many means of transport as possible are shared. Both together have a positive effect on the quality of air and life in cities, metropolises and urban areas.

Definition: Shared Mobility

Shared mobility is based on the principle of providing many individual means of transport for the public. These include, for example, shared cars, scooters, bicycles, electric scooters, etc.

It is important to distinguish between two basic forms:

  • Service providers with drivers: In principle, driving services such as Uber, Lyft and co. function like taxis and can be used by several people (also called ride-hailing).

  • Vehicle hire: These vehicles - whether cars, e-scooters or bicycles - are booked via an app and shared by different users at different times.

Ridehailing vs. ridesharing: What is the difference? With ridehailing, private drivers provide their vehicles and drive passengers from A to B. Well-known ridehailing services include Uber and Lyft. Ridesharing is about carpooling, where people with similar destinations share a ride. Popular ridesharing services include Moia and Berlkönig.

What shared mobility services are available

The six main shared mobility services include:













Good to know: Ridepooling is used by several passengers at the same time and not one after the other, as is the case with many other sharing services. With ridepooling, passengers can have different pick-up and destination points, but cannot influence the route. Whether other people join or leave depends on demand.

Challenges of Shared Mobility

Fewer vehicles, fewer emissions, more green spaces – these are the most important goals around shared mobility concepts. But is this realistic at all? Current studies from the USA indicate the opposite: 

According to these studies, the volume of traffic actually increases as a result of shared mobility, because city residents suddenly make journeys on routes that they would have preferred to cover on foot or by public transport before the new mobility offers. So as traffic volumes continue to rise, there are still some challenges to overcome:

  • Analysis and measurement of environmental and climate protection targets.

  • Financial support for sustainable sharing services

  • Innovations and expansion of public transport

  • Flexible adaptation to the mobility needs of users

  • Regulatory measures to reallocate transport space

  • Expansion of small, climate-friendly vehicles for the last mile (micromobility)

Shared Mobility: Solutions

SWARCO has many years of experience with transport solutions that support the expansion of shared mobility and contribute to greater efficiency and environmental protection. 

Here is a small selection:

Modern traffic management solutions monitor and control different types of traffic using digital technology. The focus is shifting more and more towards mobility management, as other modes of transport such as local transport and cycling, become the focus of attention.

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Transport Telematics (ITS) combines state-of-the-art information and communication technologies to improve the safety, efficiency and sustainability of transport & logistics.

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Road markings are an important safety factor in today's road transport.

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Connected mobility is an important part of future mobility. Intelligent networks, constant data exchange and full digitisation of all road traffic will benefit transport and logistics on many levels. First and foremost, data-based solutions provide more efficiency and environmental protection. Because connected mobility systems can avoid traffic jams, improve road safety, increase travel comfort and, last but not least, reduce pollutant emissions.

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Good to know: At SWARCO, we believe that the expansion of shared mobility services in urban areas is necessary to alleviate some of the current problems: congestion, parking and emissions.

The future of shared mobility and automation

Self-driving cars, in combination with shared mobility, have the potential to significantly increase the profitability of shared transport services. In recent years, there has been great interest in such services. 

Calculations show that the cost per mile of mobility services – compared to current prices – can decrease significantly through automation

The much-discussed (positive) effects of shared mobility services on travel behaviour, other means of transport, the environment and cities in general are still uncertain to date. However, some studies predict a shift away from private trips and more efficient transport operations under certain scenarios.

Conclusion: Shared Mobility

Since 2010, more than 100 billion US dollars have been invested in shared mobility companies. According to a survey by McKinsey, more than 60 per cent of mankind would share their journeys with people they do not know, provided that costs could be saved and travel time would only increase slightly (by a maximum of 15 per cent). 

The acceptance of alternative forms of mobility is likely to increase in the future. The saying "sharing is caring" makes perfect sense from an environmental point of view: those who share means of transport reduce their individual CO₂ footprint. Finally, the expansion of shared mobility can contribute to more liveable cities with less individual traffic.

Last but not least, seamless integration with public transport is particularly important for the success of shared mobility: targeted investment in public transport with the integration of shared mobility services will help to make urban mobility future-proof and more ecological and align it with the needs of users.

FAQs - Frequently asked questions briefly explained

Shared mobility is an umbrella term that encompasses a variety of transport modes, including car sharing, bike sharing, scooter sharing, ride sharing, carpooling, etc. The many offers are either used together or at different times (alone).

Any shared mobility service has the potential to have positive effects on travel behaviour, the environment and urban traffic volumes. These effects include improved accessibility, fewer car trips and less ownership of private vehicles.
Learn more about >>> Sustainable mobility here

Shared mobility services are common in many cities. Although the spread has mainly taken place in the last decade, shared mobility concepts are not a new phenomenon. The first car sharing programme was introduced in Zurich in 1948 and the first bike sharing programme started in Amsterdam as early as 1965.

Seamless mobility describes a seamlessly coordinated mobility chain of public, private and commercial mobility providers. The prerequisite for this are mobility concepts that link mobility offers in real time.

Shared mobility schemes hold great potential to extend the reach of public transport - e.g. by closing gaps in existing transport systems. Such a contribution to solving the last mile problem inevitably increases the attractiveness of public transport.

Contrary to what many people think, sharing offers do not serve to completely replace the car, but at least to supplement it: By means of suitable offers, city residents are encouraged to cover the last mile (to the front door, train, etc.) without the car.
Learn more about >>> Micromobility here

The mobility of the future lies in digitalisation: Big Data, 5G, artificial intelligence and more connectivity,increase safety, improve efficiency and reduce environmental pollution. The resulting mobility concepts are setting profound changes in motion.

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