Are share vehicles shared by all? A Review of Equity and Vehicle Sharing

Are share vehicles shared by all? A Review of Equity and Vehicle Sharing

Vehicle sharing services (bikeshare, carshare, and e-scooters) offer the potential to improve mobility and accessibility for disadvantaged populations. This article reviews research related to equity and vehicle sharing, focusing on race/ethnicity, income, gender, age, and disability. We find evidence of disparities in use of shared vehicles, which is only partly explained by lack of physical proximity. Some studies reveal additional barriers to use, particularly for bikesharing.

Key findings

   There is evidence that even when bikeshare is nearby, people of color, lower-income people, women, and older adults are less likely to be members and/or use it less.

   Access to credit cards, bank accounts, smart phones, reliable internet and valid drivers licenses are a barrier to car sharing, bike sharing, and e-scooter sharing for some low-income populations.

   Non-profit or publically owned vehicle sharing systems may lead to better equity outcomes, however the trend is more toward privately owned for profit operations. Privately owned operations are less likely to share data publically and it is unclear how effective local requiremtents related to equity are.  

   "Many of the barriers to bike- sharing are barriers to bicycling generally, which helps explain greater disparities for bikesharing versus carsharing. The lack of comfortable bicycle infrastructure in auto-dominated cities has been identified as a barrier to bicycling (Buehler and Dill 2016; Schoner and Levinson 2014) and research has shown that what limited infrastructure there is may not be equitably distributed (Kent and Karner 2019; Parra et al. 2018; J. Wang and Lindsey 2017)."

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