Transportation Sustainability Research Center Co-Director Susan Shaheen is taking an international perspective when it comes to the sharing economy this June. She was recently a keynote speaker at two gatherings in Utrecht: the First 2015 Car-Sharing Symposium in the Netherlands on June 3, 2015 and the First International Workshop on the Sharing Economy June 4-5, 2015.
At the First 2015 Car-Sharing Symposium in the Netherlands, about 150 visitors were inspired to take the next big step in the sharing economy, focusing on carsharing and shared use of a vehicle fleet specifically.
“The event was groundbreaking, featuring both roundtrip and peer-to-peer carsharing operators from the nation, and marks a new chapter in shared mobility for the Netherlands,” says Shaheen.
Shaheen drew on her research to talk with symposium attendees about the benefits of carsharing including: reduced vehicle ownership, kilometers traveled, and greenhouse gas emissions. Additional benefits include household cost savings and overall modal shifts toward transportation alternatives.
In addition to Shaheen’s keynote presentation, highlights covered at the symposium included workshops—one of which Shaheen led—on the Future of Mobility & Carsharing.
The symposium also kicked off the Green Deal Car Sharing, an agreement amongst approximately 25 researchers, companies, and governmental entities to increase carsharing in the Netherlands from 11,000 shared cars in 2013 to 100,000 shared vehicles in 2018, with approximately 1,000,000 members.
While in Utrecht, Shaheen was also featured as a keynote speaker at the First International Workshop on the Sharing Economy. The workshop encompassed the fast-growing sphere of the sharing economy on an international level, drawing academic leaders from Europe, the U.K., and the U.S.
“This was a fantastic international opportunity to draw researchers from the U.S., Europe, and the U.K. to engage in a cross-disciplinary dialogue and review current research, methodological approaches, and trends,” says Shaheen. “This gathering is the first of many that will foster collaboration across disciplines and borders to advance understanding in the sharing economy.”
As people increasingly share their homes, cars, clothing, or tools on Internet platforms, such as Airbnb, RelayRides, BlaBlaCar and Peerby; use peer-to-peer services, like uberX (UberPoP in Europe), Lending Club, Taskrabbit, and Helpling; use product-service systems, such as Zipcar and Philips lighting; and employ redistribution markets, like eBay and freecycling groups on Facebook, new rules and understanding of how sharing with strangers must be developed.
Around 40 papers were presented in two parallel sessions. Shaheen spoke on The Environmental Impacts of Shared Mobility: Insights from North America and Mobility and the Sharing Economy: Past, Present & Future, chaired the mobility session, and participated in the closing plenary session as part of a panel discussion.
“As we move forward in the sharing community, these type of gatherings will build the foundation of where we go in the future,” says Shaheen. “It is an honor to be chosen as a keynote speaker for such notable events, and I hope to continue sharing our research with this growing community as we move ahead.”