Memorandum submitted by Carplus Trust
1.1 Carplus is the national charity promoting
responsible car use. The main focus of the organisation's work
is the promotion, development and support of car clubs within
a context of other supportive demand management measures. By facilitating
access to a car when it is the most appropriate mode of travel
for a given journey the presence of a car club enables individuals,
households and businesses to give up ownership of privately owned
vehicles and makes the alternative choices more transparent and
1.2 Car clubs are proven to reduce the environmental
impact of the private car. Data from overseas is now being replaced
from that found in UK car clubs to demonstrate a cut in mileage
driven by car club members, a corresponding increase in use of
public transport along with more walking and cycling.
1.3 Through a national programme, developing
a national network of car clubs, fully integrated with public
transport, significant carbon (and other GHG) emissions could
be achieved at a relatively low cost and in a relatively short
2. WHAT IS
2.1 Car clubs come in a range of shapes
and sizes. From small community groups to large commercially run
operations, car clubs provide access to a car without the need
to own one. They are a form of short term, community or workplace
based, easy access car hire.
2.2 Car clubs enable individuals and households
to retain the benefits of a car when it is needed, without the
hassle and expense of owning one. When used by businesses they
enable substantial cost savings to be made through the reduction
of the company pool fleet and the personal mileage allowances
paid for private car use.
2.3 Once an individual or corporate member
has joined the car club, the vehicle can be booked on-line, by
telephone or from within the car for as short a period as thirty
minutes, up to a few days hire. The car is unlocked using a smart
card, and a PIN is required to switch off the vehicle immobiliser.
In some instances organisations may block book one or more cars
for the working day, thus ensuring access to their employees as
3. NATIONAL NETWORK
3.1.1 Car clubs have grown in the UK from
a standing start in 1998 to a current position of 30 car clubs
across the country with 6,000 members using 300 cars. New clubs
will be launched in several cities during this year. The great
majority of these clubs have been established with support from
Carplusand funded through one or other public source. Car
clubs will continue to grow slowly and steadily if there is no
further intervention from local or national government. However
to ensure the carbon benefits are maximised as speedily as possible
the managed growth of a national network is essential.
3.1.2 The network will see an investment
in the infrastructure through promoting integrated telematics
in the vehicles (with potential tie-ins to Road User Charging
and Pay-as-you-drive insurance) and also through provision of
appropriate parking bays for the vehicles. It will be established
by a team of officers building strategic partnerships with key
national industries and also with local and regional stakeholders.
3.1.3 The proposed network will deliver
extensive coverage of the UK within a four year period. The anticipated
membership at the end of that period is 200,000 users. However,
once established, the car club network will continue to recruit
users at little or no cost to the Government. Carplus calculates
that the one million mark will be reached by 2015.
3.2.1 The benefits of the national network
include a reduction in congestion and parking requirements, increased
public transport patronage and health gains through higher take
up of walking and cycling. Car clubs, when introduced into workplace
and residential travel plans also enhance the benefits achieved
by these measures. There is an additional benefit of increasing
access to a car for those suffering transport poverty. This arguably
has the potential for undermining the other benefits, though in
reality this is usually slight and is a matter of social justice.
3.2.2 The main benefit for the purpose of
this memorandum is the potential cut in carbon emissions and will
be examined in the following section.
3.3.1 The constraints on the development
of the national network are real. Key amongst them is the lack
of resources to build the network. Carplus estimates that a one-off
investment in the region of £20 million-£25 million
over a four year period will ensure the network will be developed.
This amount is less than the sum needed to widen the M1 by one
lane along a mile of its length.
3.3.2 Tackling the financial constraint
will enable other obstacles to be overcome. Carplus have frequently
played the role of honest brokerbringing together the stakeholders
in a location to assess the potential and to deliver the club.
The requirement of suitable parking locations is a further difficulty
in development of a club, and the resources to fund the necessary
TRO/TMO processes will help resolve problems encountered in this
3.3.3 A second constraint is the attitude
to the car. Unlike many initiatives in demand management car clubs
are not perceived to be a threat to car users. They are not an
"anti-car" measure. Paradoxically they effect a reduction
in car use through the provision of vehicles. Nevertheless in
the UK, as elsewhere in the world, the ambition to own a car,
and to own successively better cars, is high. This aspirational
constraint can be lessened by the introduction of a range of vehicles
in a car club fleet, alongside an information programme outlining
the benefits of vehicle usage as opposed to ownership.
4.1 The potential for reducing carbon emissions
from car use is significant, and is achieved through a combination
of two complementary consequences of car clubs.
4.2 Mileage reduction.
4.2.1 Data already collected in the UK show
an average reduction in mileage driven by car club users to be
in the region of 40%. Further information indicates that in some
cases the reduction amongst members is moving towards the EU figures
of 70%. This is achieved through a combination of modal shift,
and journey reductions. The carbon savings are further enhanced
by evidence that car club journeys are on average longer than
privately owned journeys, thus reducing the proportion of "cold
engine" driving, with its higher emissions. Further carbon
savings are achieved through the replacement of older poorly maintained
vehicles with modern, well maintained, and possibly environmentally
4.2.2 Carplus have calculated, on mileage
reduction alone, that with 200,000 members in four years the carbon
saving will be at least 102,000 tonnes (178,000 using EU reduction
figures). By 2015 Carplus expects the carbon savings to be between
510,000 (UK) and 893,000 (EU) tonnes of carbon per annum. This
will be a year on year saving at no further cost to the public
4.3 Fleet reduction.
4.3.1 Additional carbon reductions can be
achieved through the reduction of the private car fleet. Data
in the UK indicates that for each car club vehicle placed the
privately owned fleet is reduced by 5.5 vehicles. At present the
actual carbon savings in respect to the embodied carbon for this
reduction is not available, though Carplus is undertaking research,
funded by Defra, to ascertain the whole lifecycle carbon reductions
through implementing car clubs.
5.1 The carbon reduction targets set by
the UK government are laudable, and the contribution attempted
by the Department of Transport in reducing total vehicle emissions
is a step on the way to mitigating some of the worst impacts of
5.2 There are a number of complementary
steps that should be pursued, including increased investment in
technological improvements in fuel and engines, and the introduction
of demand management tools such as Road User Charging.
5.3 The purpose of this memorandum is to
demonstrate that establishing a national network of car clubs
has the potential to realise significant reductions in carbon
emissions from vehicles at a relatively low cost and in a relatively
short time frame.
5.4 In producing this memorandum Carplus
have aimed for brevity at the expense of detail. The organisation
is very happy to provide more detailed evidence and to arrange
a demonstration of a working car club if required.