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Collaborative transport

posted by Susanna Olai on 23 January 2012

tags: transport ,

How many hours a day do you use your car? And how much does it cost you to run each year? The total cost will be in the £1,000s, and most people leave their cars parked for over 23 hours a day.

Innovative trends within transport based on the idea of collaboration include for example car share schemes, lift sharing, and the mysteriously named slugging. Schemes like these allow people to travel cheaper, travel for free, or even make a bit of money by letting others use the car instead of leaving it in the garage.

Carplus is a charity promoting the responsible and efficient use of cars in the UK. There is information on their website about both car clubs and car sharing in your area. Lift Share finds you a lift when you need it. Your local council may also have information about car sharing schemes.

Even if you do own a car, these types of schemes may be useful when you’re going to the airport or to a festival, because you won’t have to worry about or pay for parking. Lift Share also provides car-sharing schemes to over 500 businesses and communities across the country. 

There are schemes that rent out cars by the hour to members. Zipcar is a project where participants are encouraged to sell their car and walk, cycle and use public transport. When members need a pair of wheels, they search on the website to see where the closest car is parked, then simply book it online and pick it up using their member card.

Benefits of collaborative transport include a healthier life style, saving money, less hassle (no MOTs, no insurance, no visits to the garage) and a lower carbon footprint. It also gives you the flexibility of choosing a car that is fit for purpose, so you can have a large van for a big job, a small car when you travel by yourself, and a fancy one when you’re going on a date! There might even be an EV or hybrid you could try if you're interested in new technology. 

A certain degree of trust is needed to share your car or catch a lift with someone. Some formal set-ups give ratings of people who give lifts or share cars. If you’re not quite ready for that, why not set up an informal agreement with neighbours, friends or family to do your weekly food shopping together or share the task of taking the kids to school or other activities with other parents.

Fewer cars means less congestion, better air quality and more available parking spaces. You will also pay less for transport! Every day there are 10 million empty seats on our roads. Let’s try to fill some of those seats instead of filling the roads up with more cars!

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