There are about a billion passenger cars on the streets worldwide. This astonishing number of cars excludes over 300 million commercial vehicles. Today, about 55% of the world’s population lives in urban areas, a hefty increase from 30% in 1950. By 2050 we expect to have over 67% of humanity to live in cities. When we take into account the rapid growth of the global population we forecast over 6 billion people living in large cities by 2050.
As the population grows and our cities become denser, we cannot sustain the number of privately-owned passenger cars on the streets, otherwise, there will be no room left for living space. Space to walk, space for greenery, for parks for playgrounds, or for bicycles. The electrification of vehicles only gives an answer to the local pollution, but not for the “space problem”.
The obvious answer would be public transportation. It’s the most compact way to take people from A to B. However, no matter how advanced and well functioning public transportation is, passenger cars and commercial vehicles cannot be ignored. There is a way to make more space in the cities by eliminating most of the private vehicle ownership. On average a single shared car can replace 14 privately owned cars. This massive number would mean that over 9/10th of the space in our cities reserved for parking cars could find a new purpose. Future urban designing will need to find ways to create a new function for the freed areas.
Car Sharing Growth
The annual membership growth of car-sharing companies sees exponential growth. In 2006 there were 350,000 users while by 2025 Frost & Sullivan expects 36 million registered members. This forecast is based on the rapid growth of car-sharing companies.