Reflections on Carsharing – by Patrick Nangle (CEO, Modo, Vancouver, BC)

Soon approaching my first anniversary at Modo and in the industry, it’s a good time to reflect on what I’ve learned to date. My education has been greatly facilitated by my colleagues at Modo, regular interactions with our many stakeholders and most recently by participation at the Car Sharing Association (CSA) conference in Montreal.

Patrick Nangle (CEO, Modo)

To summarize in a few words, I am delighted to be onboard at what I believe is a pivotal moment in the evolution of carsharing. The rest of the world has woken up to the benefits that early entrants like Modo and its members have known for decades, that carsharing complements public transit, biking and walking to make possible a lifestyle free of the burden of car ownership. The value of not having to own a car or second car, but having one available when you need it, will vary by individual, and typically includes some composite of improved personal economics and reduced environmental impact.

A very significant catalyst to the rapid growth in shared mobility today is the relatively recent entry of well-funded and highly motivated service and technology providers. These include technology companies of all sizes, from start ups to global giants like Apple, Google and Uber, and virtually all auto manufacturers. They are driving rapid business model experimentation and the probable convergence of some of the existing and emerging models we are familiar with: station-based carsharing, free floating carsharing, peer-to-peer carsharing, ridesharing, ride-hailing, carpooling, on-demand transit, autonomous vehicles. What motivates them? An emerging market potential for new forms of personal mobility that is measured in trillions of dollars.

And they are not alone. Public transit system operators and local governments are also pro-actively driving carsharing adoption, increasingly recognizing the mutual benefit that comes from collaboration and co-operation. We hear that in our conversations with them.

What does all this mean for a purpose-driven, carsharing co-operative like Modo?  That by working co-operatively with the right partners, making thoughtful strategic choices and staying focused on our Purpose, our chances are better than they have ever been to make a difference, for our members and the communities we serve.

Yes, Canada has seen four consecutive years of record new vehicle sales and there remains much to be done. At the same time though, Modo, and carsharing generally, is growing even faster. An unstoppable tidal wave of change is building, propelled by lifestyle affordability challenges, climate change realities and big investments in technology. I expect these next few years will be very exciting and am optimistic about what we can achieve together as we continue to make carsharing available to more people in more places.



2017 CSA Conference speaker presentations


The presentation of the 2017 CSA conference “Shaping the future of carsharing” are available for consultation at the page Slide presentation.

Thanks to all our great speakers, sponsors and participants.




Save the date! 7th annual Carsharing Association conference May 18-19 2017

The 7th annual Carsharing Association conference will take place on May 18th and 19th 2017 in vibrant and blossoming Montreal, Québec, Canada ! Every year, over 200 delegates from over a dozen countries take part in this event, dedicated exclusively to the carsharing industry.


Summary of Carsharing Conference held in Vancouver, Canada on September 22-23, 2015

team red

Bodo Schwieger from team red Berlin speaks on the The Future of Mobility – photo credit Emily Fleck

More than 200 people from 18 countries attended the Carsharing Conference in Vancouver on September 22-23.  Participating were carsharing operators, mobility technology companies, public transit employees, city staff, elected officials, and consultants.

In the opening remarks, the question was asked “How do we increase carsharing tenfold?” and “What are the barriers to this growth?”  Throughout the program, the opportunity to make shared mobility more accessible and attractive to the travelling public was explored in three themes:

Cities: Use of Public Space for Shared Mobility – As the public sector controls a vast inventory of strategic parking resources, carsharing organizations need to work together with civic transportation planners, parking managers and elected officials to demonstrate the synergy between carsharing and the goals of the city. Research demonstrating the link between carsharing and reduced levels of private car ownership, reduced vehicle miles travelled and increased use of walking, cycling and public transit modes is important. Carsharing organizations will be expected provide data and reporting to transportation authorities to illustrate the impact that carsharing has on the overall transportation system.

To reduce traffic congestion and improve the problem of scarce parking resources, cities will need political leadership to discourage private auto ownership.  With political support, progressive policies for parking, use of the public right of way, taxation make shared use vehicles relatively more attractive than private cars. Encouraging shared car mobility helps cities to reach their sustainability goals and improve the quality of life for all residents.

Some of the characteristics of the ideal carsharing city are:

  • City administration uses carsharing vehicles for city business and makes the vehicles available for use by the public on weekends and evenings
  • City makes public lands available for parking carsharing vehicles
  • City makes allowances for reduced parking requirements when land developers include carsharing in new housing projects

Public Transit: Integrated Mobility – The opportunity for combining, carsharing, bike sharing, ridesharing and ridesourcing with bus and rail systems is full of promise.  By putting the customer at the center and offering a broad choice of mobility options, public transit authorities can increase ridership and discourage the use of private automobiles in cities.  There are examples of pilot projects between new mobility providers and public transit that reduce operating costs and increase ridership, but most partnerships are still at the discussion stages. Much more work remains to develop a seamless multi-modal experience for the traveling public.

Technology: Smartphones, Connected Cars and Autonomous Vehicles – Clearly, having access to information in the palm of your hand has transformed the way people think about mobility. Ther was an interesting discussion about how open data standards can allow carsharing inventory to be shared across various aggregator/reseller platforms.  New technology is emerging that allows carsharing organizations to optimize fleet deployment and increase yields. The user interface for booking and paying for shared cars is improving – making it easier for new members to get into vehicles and start driving.

Other topics discussed included the wide variety of applications of carsharing in business and government fleets. Eliminating “grey fleets” (employee-owned vehicles being used for business purposes), and requiring staff to use shared cars has proved to be more economical for businesses.  When the distance-based reimbursements paid to employees are eliminated, the economics of using private cars for commuting purposes changes and using alternative transportation for the journey to work becomes more attractive.

Electric Vehicle Carsharing – Electric vehicle carsharing fleets have been deployed in Paris, Amsterdam, Indianapolis, San Diego and Copenhagen.  Other EV sharing systems are planned for Singapore, Montreal and Auckland. Constraints to the expansion of EV sharing systems include lack of consumer awareness about electric vehicle technologies (performance vs. conventional cars, battery range, charging requirements) and limited appetite from consumers to drive electric vehicles. Additional challenges include finding suitable public locations for charging infrastructure and the financing of electric cars and charging stations.

Electric vehicles also have certain advantages in carsharing. Urban carsharing trips are generally short distance and short time duration, consuming just a fraction of a full battery charge. Electric drive is much quieter than combustion engines and does not produce tailpipe emissions making urban roadways more compatible for mixed use with pedestrians. Consumers have the opportunity to “try out” electric car technology without having to purchase it. A carsharing member may choose a conventional gasoline-powered car when required for a longer trip outside city center.

The Carsharing Association will continue to work on partnerships within the transportation community to advance the social and environmental benefits of carsharing. To keep up with developments at CSA, please sign up for our (infrequent) newsletter, and follow us on twitter at @carsharing.

get the list of attendees

Download the powerpoint presentations

CSA Annual Conference dates set for September 16 & 17, 2013

This fall, we will be talking about Shared Mobility and Transit: Partners for the 21st Century in Toronto, Canada.  We are inviting transportation planners, municipal and land development planners and public transportation authorities to learn about how shared vehicle mobility solutions moves people and goods around cities and towns more efficiently.  On hand will be technology innovators, academic researchers, and leaders from carsharing organizations across North America and Europe.

Are you interested in speaking or presenting at the conference?  Would you like more information on registration?

Save the dates: September 16 & 17, 2013


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