Peer-to-peer (P2P) carsharing is a relatively new concept in the U.S. Enabled by recent internet and mobile technology development, P2P carsharing generally involves a facilitating company connecting private vehicle owners to people who are interested in renting a vehicle. P2P carsharing has many things in common with business-to-consumer (B2C) carsharing services. Consumers join the service to rent vehicles on a short-term basis from locations dispersed throughout a certain area. Both services may allow households to reduce their private car ownership. However, P2P carsharing differs substantially from other models in that there are two distinct sets of consumers: those who rent the vehicles (renters) and those who put their vehicles up for rent (owners). The members of the service are providing the supply as well as the demand. Not only does the car owner provide the vehicle and determine where it is parked, they determine what hours it is available for rent and at what price (though with some influence from the facilitating company).
This report presents findings from a multiyear study of P2P carsharing that began in early 2012 and targeted members of Getaround, which launched in February 2012 in Portland, OR. The goal of this study, which collected information from both owners and renters, is to evaluate the impact of peer-to-peer carsharing relative to other models of car use, including ownership, rental, and conventional (corporate) carsharing. The two primary research questions are whether P2P carsharing can reduce overall and peak- period vehicle miles traveled (VMT) by marginalizing the cost of driving, and whether P2P carsharing increases access to jobs and other activities for those without cars. Compared with conventional carsharing, P2P carsharing has the potential to influence VMT for both the renter and the owner. P2P owners may reduce their driving so that the vehicle is available for rent. Renters, as with other forms of carsharing, may decide to forgo or reduce vehicle ownership and drive less because the marginal costs of driving are more apparent. This report also examines motivations and factors associated with greater or lesser participation (in terms of rental activity), the influence of P2P carsharing on travel behavior and attitudes toward car ownership, and general experiences with P2P carsharing.