Replacing private car travel in urban places with shared vehicles would end congestion, cut CO2 emissions and free public space, according to a study by the International Transport Forum.

The initial results came from Helsinki simulations and a focus group and appear to confirm findings from an earlier study based on Lisbon, Portugal.

In the simulations, motorised road trips (private car, bus and taxi) trips were replaced by different configurations of six-seater shared taxis that provide on-demand door-to-door service and taxi-buses that offer a street corner-to-street corner service booked 30 minutes in advance.

With these shared services, all of today's car journeys in Helsinki Metropolitan Area could be provided with just 4% of the current number of private vehicles.

The best results in terms of reducing emissions and congestion are achieved when all private car trips are replaced with shared rides:

  • CO2 emissions from cars would fall 34%;
  • Congestion would be reduced by 37%;
  • Much of public parking space could be used for other purposes.

Shared mobility also means fewer transfers, less waiting and shorter travel times compared to traditional public transport. The improved quality of the service could attract car users that currently do not use public transport and foster a shift away from individual car travel.

The Helsinki study also confirms initial results for Lisbon that shared mobility improves access to jobs and public services notably for citizens in areas with few such offers.

Shared mobility services thus can play an important role in creating more equitable access to opportunities for citizens.

Finally, the Helsinki study confirms that shared mobility services can be highly effective feeder services for high-capacity public transport services. As in the Lisbon case, scenarios providing first- and last-mile shared services showed that this can increase rail and metro ridership between 15% and 23%.

The full report can be downloaded from here.