Share a car and pass it on - A Mobility Park case I Halden

To many people, their car represents their identity, and the idea that just about anybody could take it for a ride is a little unsettling. Let us start by saying that we sympathise with this feeling.

HOWEVER – do we really need to have our identities represented by two cars sitting on our driveway? We have to realise that cars on the average remain parked 92 % of the time. Which means they are standing still 336 days a year.

In Halden, a medium-sized Norwegian town, the increase in the population over the last 10 years has been moderate, while the growth in the number of cars has been considerable. As a result our small town today faces traffic problems during rush hour that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago.

How do we combat this trend? And who can contribute?

Halden Council is planning to do its share and we intend to build a solution which will save money as well as the environment. It is important for smaller towns to be future-orientated when it comes to mobility. This is not just an issue for large cities. The Council is renting a substantial number of electric cars on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. During evenings and weekend the same cars will be available for rental by the hour to inhabitants and visitors

This is how we hope to contribute towards a reduction in the number of families who feel they need a second car. And some younger buyers may choose to postpone buying a car and rather wait for the driverless cars which are bound to come – sooner or later. We also think that this arrangement may help in levelling out the differences between us. In Oestfold and Halden, as in the rest of the country, some people are financially excluded from various social arenas. There are parents who don’t have the money to buy a car, and therefore are unable to take their children to extracurricular activities. If you can rent a car for a reasonable price, then perhaps you’ll be able to take your son or daughter to a match in the neighbouring town once a month?

What about the digital aspect?

You simply rent a car via an app on your telephone.

Many of us have had the experience of picking up a car from a rental company abroad, often with a lot of luggage and tired, impatient children waiting. The technology is basic, with forms to be filled out by the dozen, all while trying to focus on choosing between various insurance options. Our system will have none of this. Everything will be done via your mobile phone. You will “book” and pay for your car with an app, giving an estimate of how far you will go. The estimated distance is important so that the system can decide which car to assign to you – after all, you need to be able to get there – and to get back again. The key will be inside the car at all times, so you will be able to unlock the car with your phone. That’s about as simple as it gets in 2019.

The car key is always inside. You unlock the car with your mobile phone.
The cars are branded with UN's Sustainability Development Goals!

A better economy and a better climate

I seem to remember that some paragraphs ago we also predicted that this solution would let us save money. Listen to this:

Halden Council spends almost 2,5 million NOK per year on mileage allowances for our employees who use their own cars. If we rent 30 – 40 cars, this will cover more or less our entire need for transport during working hours. And we will have saved a substantial sum of money! Employees who spend part of their day on the road won’t need to take their private cars to work, so we will have freed up parking space as well as reducing the traffic in town. We are, after all, committed to national and international goals for zero growth in the number of cars and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Let’s play with some emissions numbers. In 2017 our employees covered a distance of 1 million kilometres while working. As cars running on fossil fuel typically emit about 120 grams CO2 per kilometre, the calculation runs like this:

120 g X 1,000,000 km

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to see that this is going to be a large number. However I will reveal the total:

120,000 kilos of CO2!

This number only covers those of our employees who drive cars as part of their job. If we switch to electric cars we will instead emit ZERO CO2 – locally in Halden.

To me the choice is simple – and as a technology enthusiast it makes me very happy.

We also include electrical bikes in the concept and, soon we add scooters as well. All in the same solution.

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