Research: analyzing shared mobility markets in Europe

The progression of shared mobility across Europe is remarkable. While station-based car and bike sharing have a longer history, particularly in major European capitals, recent advancements in modal types and operational models have significantly transformed the shared mobility landscape. Rapid expansion by private organizations has broadened access to shared mobility services across Europe. However, not all European cities are considered potentially viable markets due to local factors such as stringent regulatory frameworks and unfavorable economic conditions.

The composition of local offerings influences how citizens use these services, impacting travel behavior and local transport networks differently. Therefore, understanding the availability of shared mobility schemes across Europe is essential for comprehending the market structure, its development, providers’ decision drivers, and potential consequences for local transportation systems.

A new paper presents data on various segments and features of the shared mobility market across European cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants. Second, two clustering approaches are conducted to structure this European market. Third, contextual characteristics such as socio-demographics, the built environment, and geography are compared among the clusters using Dunn testing.

The results show that the market is highly fragmented, ranging from cities with minimal offerings (i.e., one type of modality available) to cities with a competitive market consisting of numerous modalities and operators.

As expected, the most comprehensive shared mobility offerings are found in cities with the highest economic potential, measured by GDP per capita and population size. However, these cities tend to impose stricter regulations and invest in public schemes, especially for bike and car sharing, affecting the share of private operators. This may explain why private scooter-sharing companies are willing to operate in smaller cities that initially lack the economic conditions to support a profitable sharing scheme. In cities where scooters are absent, particularly in Dutch cities, free-floating moped- and bike-sharing schemes have acted as substitutes. Nonetheless, the comprehensiveness of the offerings in these cities suggests that even with strict regulatory frameworks, other factors like infrastructure can create an attractive environment for operators.

Overall, shared mobility is well-developed in European cities, meaning that many people are already aware of or have access to some form of shared mobility. This allows other less-developed modalities, such as cargo bikes, to expand further and offer specific use cases for car replacement. Future research should follow up on market developments to understand how various segments evolve and to examine the role of different policy frameworks more thoroughly.

Source: Coenegrachts, E., Vanelslander, T., Verhetsel, A., & Beckers, J. (2024). Analyzing shared mobility markets in Europe: A comparative analysis of shared mobility schemes across 311 European cities. Journal of Transport Geography, 118, 103918.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *