What We Learned: 2015 Carsharing Conference
This year, Vancouver hosted the 2015 Carsharing Association Conference which saw visitors from around the globe come together and discuss not only the future of carsharing, but the future of mobility in our cities, towns and rural regions. Several Modo staff and board members attended the conference, and we’ve compiled a few of our thoughts and reflections on what stood out to each of us, and where we see shared mobility in the future.
Todd Litman, Victoria Transport Policy Institute (facebook/Carsharing Association)
Kathrin, Marketing Coordinator:
Hearing about creative campaigns promoting carsharing and a greener lifestyle was my conference highlight. I especially loved the idea behind “Sans Ma Voiture”, organized by the French peer-to-peer carsharing service Koolicar — 100 participants in two cities in France (Bordeux and Niorte) will give up their cars for 2 months and get free transit, carsharing and bikes in return. After two months, they can decide whether they want their car back or sell it to Koolicar, so it can become part of their peer-to-peer carsharing fleet. Brilliant!
Cata, Office Manager:
What stood out for me was the opportunity cities have to encourage carsharing car ownership and all the benefits that result. Another point that really got me thinking is the speculation on the future of mobility — 3D printed cars; connected and self-driving cars. I started to realize that the world of transportation is moving in a very interesting direction and in my opinion Modo is a fundamental bridge between “these” and “those” times.
Koolicar, a P2P carsharing network in France (facebook/Koolicar)
William, Board Chair:
When I think back to the Carsharing Association Conference, three things come to mind. One is how fortunate we are to have had this event in Vancouver. For Modo, it meant staff and board could participate, learn and connect to discuss the issues and opportunities facing our fast-changing industry. The second reinforced how critical partnerships are to our industry. Modo, as a local co-operative is so well positioned to continue to partner with municipalities, organizations like TransLink, businesses and others to strengthen our mobility options well beyond car ownership.
The third is that the sharing economy, which I personally am very excited about, seems to be fractured between players trying to extract big profits through technology platforms, and those who are focused on addressing critical issues facing our society regarding transportation options, environmental degradation and greenhouse gas emissions, and social equity. This industry is just beginning, and it’s exciting to be addressing such big issues in such a turbulent and open landscape.
Anthony, Community & Member Engagement Manager
It was inspiring to meet people from across the globe who all share an interest in improving carsharing to meet their community’s needs. Transportation issues can be drastically different between regions but to see organizations in all stages of development — brand new in South Africa, to old friends in Montreal — we all have the same end goal. It was cool to see how each of us adapts to and tackles our challenges.
Locomute’s fleet — the first carsharing network in Africa (facebook/Locomute)
Selena, Director of Marketing
My favourite speaker was Arnd Batzner from Mobility Car Sharing in Switzerland. I was fortunate to chat with him after the session. What an interesting character – with a background in piano, physics and railway engineering. And from his ability to whip through 100 slides in less than 15-mins, perhaps auctioneering as well! I was blown away by how integrated all the forms of mobility are in the region – from buses and carshares, to people movers and cable cars. All using the same technology and payment systems. Vancouver is definitely coming along, but we have a lot to learn.
Alan, Carsharing Association – Executive Director
Internally visitors were not only impressed by Vancouver’s abundance of fresh air and trees, but also with the abundance of pubic curbside parking available to carshare operators. I’m excited and optimistic about the City Manager’s stated commitment to transitioning to 100% renewable energy by 2050. To support this, I expect the City will in turn support Vancouver-based carshare operators in their efforts to make electric car sharing work – through improvements to infrastructure such as charging stations.
Mobility Car Sharing in Switzerland (media/Mobility Car Sharing)
Xiomara, Member Loyalty Team
It was very “electric” to attend a conference about the future of car ownership and transportation. To attend the conference where like minded individuals share a goal of providing alternate methods of transporting gave me a glimpse into the future, and as a representative of Modo it was enlightening to know that as one of the pioneers of the industry, we continue to share our ideas and industry standards to advocate and support shared use mobility.
Karen, Director of Information Systems and Business Intelligence
Before the CSA conference in Vancouver, I travelled to Nelson for a conference with the Federation of Canadian Carsharing Co-operatives. The co-op movement is such a natural fit for carsharing: as a co-op, our members don’t just share the use of our cars, but also share the ownership and governance of our business. From Mobility in Switzerland to Modo here at home, car co-ops have always pioneered the carsharing model.
Since our last FC3 conference two years ago, the Saskatoon CarShare Co-op and the Sunshine Coast’s Coast Car Co-op have both started operations, growing to two and five cars respectively, while Kelowna’s OGO Okanagan Car Share — brand new in 2013 — has grown to seven! Now we’re excited to help Newfoundland’s first car co-op, CarShare NL, get started. We heard from Calgary CarShare about their experience surviving the Bow River flood of 2013, while Community Car Share in southwestern Ontario and Kootenay Carshare in southeastern BC shared new lessons about carsharing in smaller communities. We talked about everything from snow tires to vehicle financing to overnight call centres … I always appreciate getting into the fine operational details that make carsharing actually work.
Modo’s first EV in Victoria, located at Dockside Green (facebook/Modo)
David, Member Loyalty Team
It was interesting to hear the urgency/need in having electric vehicles in place by EV advocates, however, the problems that carsharing organizations face is the lack of infrastructure development. Building new charging stations and the need to educate members on how electric vehicles work was a common concern in talking to many carsharing representatives.
Sylvain, Business Development
The conference was a fantastic opportunity to learn and exchange ideas about different carsharing models and practices. As time goes on in a carsharing organization, we all tend to set our own boundaries of what’s possible and “impossible”. Sharing knowledge and experiences with fellow carshare organizations, technology providers, academic researchers, and city administrations from around the world is a great way to challenge these boundaries and find solutions to continue improving our services and their benefits for our local communities.