A city-level analysis of B2C carsharing in Europe
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Business to consumer (B2C) carsharing is a phenomenon that started in Europe in the 1940s but has gained in popularity quickly since the 1990s. This development is a welcome addition to the means that can be supported by local governments in order to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and curb congestion in cities. Cities have however experienced differences in the extent to which carsharing has been adopted in their area. This research uncovers several important city features that explain this differential adoption of carsharing in a city. This study uses the multi-level perspective (MLP) to distinguish between the contemporary car regime and the carsharing niche. Several indicators are identified that theoretically would weaken the regime and/or strengthen the niche in a city. These indicators are therefore expected to have a noticeable effect on the amount of shared B2C vehicles in cities, as the local car regime would be weaker. The research develops a unique database by collecting the amount of shared B2C cars online through carsharing operator (CSO) websites. Independent variables are in turn collected through various sources both on- and offline, including national statistics databases and Eurostat. Results are initially analyzed through bivariate correlations. Subsequently, a binary logistic regression and a negative binomial regression analysis are employed to determine the most important explanatory variables for the success of B2C carsharing. The research shows that B2C carsharing success can be reasonably explained through the country in which the city is situated, the city size in terms of its population, the level of car ownership, the education level of the city’s inhabitants, the city’s modal split, the extent to which the city’s population is engaged with sustainability, the competition between B2C CSOs, and to some extent the presence of students and attempts to provide explanations for the significance of these variables. This research is intended to be an exploratory study on the characteristics of cities where B2C carsharing is successful. Several suggestions for further research that can add to the insights gained here are adding other variables, more data points (countries or smaller cities), and more detailed data.