Carsharing and the Built Environment: Geographic Information System-Based Study of One U.S. Operator

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

infrastructure - station, planning - signage/information, ridership - demand, policy - environment, technology - geographic information systems, mode - rail, mode - tram/light rail, mode - mass transit, mode - car


Transit, Station cars (Car sharing), Public transit, Multivariate analysis, Mass transit, Local transit, Light rail transit, GIS, Geographic information systems, Geocoding, Demographics, Demand, Case studies, Car sharing, Built environment, Access


A geographic information system–based multivariate regression study of an urban U.S. carsharing operator compared the use of carsharing vehicles for 16 months in 2006 and 2007 to built-environment and demographic factors. Carsharing is a relatively new transportation industry in which companies provide members with short-term vehicle access from distributed neighborhood locations. The number of registered carsharing members in North America has doubled every year or two to a current level of approximately 320,000. Researchers have long supposed that public transit access is a key factor driving demand for carsharing. The results of the study, however, find an ambiguous relationship between the activity at carsharing locations and public transit access. Light rail availability is found to have a significant and positive relationship to carsharing demand. Regional rail availability is found to be weakly and negatively associated with carsharing demand, although limitations in the available data make it impossible to ascribe the observed difference to user demand, random variation, or other factors specific to the industry.