Sharing vs. owning

Recent estimates show a steadily growing trend in urban centres across both the US and Europe of people that choose shared or subscription-based mobility options, rather than committing to car ownership. The increasing popularity of shared mobility shows potential of slowing down global vehicle sales but not reverse them.

What have been the trend in consumer ownership and use of shared vehicles?

Philippe Crist is Advisor on Innovation and Foresight for ITF at the OECD. His current work focuses on disruptive urban mobility and examines how car-based and active mobility, public transport and taxis must adapt to these.

"On the one hand, shared mobility means you have more subtle car sharing options. On the other hand, you have less settled micro-mobility options (e.g. scooters). Car sharing was originally for people to stop owning cars. For micro-mobility, we see the opposite is about to happen. Many users had their first experience with scooters and e-bikes through these shared schemes. What we might see, is that more people will buy these and become owners rather than shared users in the future. A new approach is that these micro-mobility solutions might go into a long-term leasing options (like the Dutch Swapfiets).

Thus, cities might also want to subsidise these options to make it more accessible for e.g. low income households. To sum up; we might see a move from shared to owned vehicles, just as we have seen a move from owned to shared cars."


The Dutch bicycle subscription provider, Swapfiets, supplies a transportation bike, and on-demand repairs or replacement for a monthly subscription. Starting with singlespeed Dutch bikes, the service now also has geared and electric bikes.


Stijn VernaillenAntwerp

I love shared mobility but certainly for the micro-mobility solutions, ownerships makes more sense. Also, for the micro-mobility solutions to really work you also need a strong public transport system. They strengthen each other.

Nico LarcoUniversity of Oregon and Urbanism Next

I don’t think cities should care that much about owned vs shared micro-mobility. If that is a means to get to their desired outcomes (more equitable, more environmentally friendly.... less car use/ownership), then yes - absolutely support it.