Peer-to-Peer Carsharing
Exploring Public Perception and Market Characteristics in the San Francisco Bay Area, California

October, 2014

By Ingrid Ballús-Armet, Susan A. Shaheen, Kelly Clonts, and David Weinzimmer


Peer-to-peer carsharing is an innovative approach to vehicle sharing in which vehicle owners temporarily rent their personal automobiles to others in their surrounding area. Peer-to-peer carsharing belongs to the larger sharing economy, an economic model premised on the notion of collaborative consumption as opposed to ownership. This study examined public perception of peer-to-peer carsharing and potential market characteristics through an intercept survey conducted in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. Three hundred respondents from 14 locations in San Francisco were polled on their existing attitudes toward and perceptions of classic carsharing, peer-to-peer carsharing, and the sharing economy.
The survey results indicate that there remains a low awareness of peer-to-peer carsharing, with fewer than 50% of San Francisco respondents and 25% of Oakland respondents having heard of the term. Approximately 25% of surveyed vehicle owners would be willing to share their personal vehicles through peer-to-peer carsharing, citing liability and trust concerns as primary deterrents. Those who drove almost every day were less open to renting through peer-to-peer, while those who used public transit at least once per week.

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