Car sharing is a modern mobility concept, which provides the possibility to use a car at any time needed, without owning an individual vehicle. It gives access to a fleet of cars with easy and simple procedures using the latest technology. In car sharing organisations many people use few cars –only as long as needed. A well organised car sharing service may give almost the same flexibility as a private car with higher economic and ecological efficiency.
Organised car-sharing is a mobility service, which completes the range of environmentally friendly means of transport (public transport, walking and cycling) and reduces dependence on car ownership. It works like a mobility insurance for all cases when public transportation, walking and cycling are not adequate (at night, by trips when public transport is not available or not convenient, when bulky or heavy objects have to be transported, etc.).
Car-sharing, adopted on a wide scale, can help to reduce the number of vehicles on the road considerably, so it has the potential to save resources and energy, to reduce polluting emissions, as well as to improve the quality of urban space through a reduction of (parked) vehicles. In addition, car-sharing customers can save money as they only pay when they drive. Although some car sharing success stories already exist on a large scale (mainly in co-operation with public transport, taxi operators etc. in Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, etc.), the overall awareness of the benefits of car sharing, as well as the organisational know-how and the currently available technologies (e.g. booking systems, access to vehicles and payment handling through smart cards) for building up a well functioning, reliable and user friendly car sharing system are not yet sufficiently deployed in Europe.
Small-scale operations exist in other European countries, e.g. in France and Italy. More importantly, most car sharing schemes are still non-technology based approaches and they do not include any substantial co-operation with other transport modes (e.g. public transport, taxis, etc.).
TOSCA has the overall intention to promote, mainly through a technological transfer initiative to the Bologna public transport operator (ATC), the idea of an integrated mobility concept in which car sharing is considered as a complementary mobility service for the public transport customers and which is based on advanced technologies developed in European Programmes.
Within this context the TOSCA project outlines the following two objectives:
- To transfer mature proven and leading edge technologies and innovative implementation/ business concepts of car sharing and
- to establish the integrated, technology-based car sharing concept as European Best Practice and to prepare for further take up in several European cities.
In order to achieve these key objectives, the following operational goals were defined:
- Transfer the innovative and technological tools of the car-sharing scheme in the City of Bremen to the public transport operator ATC-Bologna.
- Develop and implement a pilot application of car-sharing in Bologna, based on the implementation and business concept of the car-sharing system in Bremen.
- Develop a business and technical implementation plan for three European cities: Barcelona, Bucharest and Strasbourg.
- Disseminate the project results and best practice examples of car-sharing.
The tasks of the project were organised as follows:
- WP1 'Implementation Planning' included all tasks for planning and preparing the car sharing take-up in Bologna. All specific preconditions for physical implementation, business planning and marketing, before the take up of car sharing technologies could take place, were identified and the exact technological implementation parameters determined.
- In WP2 (Technical implementation) all software and hardware elements for the car sharing scheme in Bologna were installed. After successful installation the system was tested and the car sharing staff trained.
- The pilot car sharing system of Bologna started operations in WP3 (Operation and measurement of results). In the operation phase comprehensive data for evaluating the effects of the car sharing application were collected.
- In WP4 'Assessment and Evaluation of Results' all evaluation tasks for the TOSCA project were undertaken. The evaluation comprises the analysis of all TOSCA impacts and extent to which the quantified objectives have been met. Based on the detailed analysis, recommendations for further improvement of car-sharing operation in Bologna are given.
- WP5 (European transfer planning) and WP6 'Dissemination of Best Practice' refer to the TOSCA objective to promote the take up of the car sharing experiences in the Cities of Bremen and Bologna to other European cities. In WP5, TOSCA gave concrete support to three European 'follower' cities to develop car sharing implementation and business studies.
- Within WP6 'Dissemination and Best Practice' the experience gained within the TOSCA project was made available to a broader public by the publication of the TOSCA Take-up Guide – Car-Sharing in Practice and the Best-Practice Case Study which is available at the ELTIS database. The TOSCA Final Conference in Bologna and the two car sharing workshops in Bremen targeted a wider audience of local transport decision makers in Europe. WP6 activities included furthermore the production and dissemination of the TOSCA brochure as well as the dissemination of results via web.
- WP7 (Project Co-ordination) was a horizontal Work Package which included activities for project management. Project management consisted of the continuous co-ordination and monitoring of project progress and reporting tasks.
Organisation and internal co-operation:
Activities undertaken have involved differe
TOSCA aimed at facilitating further technological take-up developments, such as integrated smart cards for public transport, booking and information systems via Internet & call centre.
TOSCA was born from the necessity of setting up an alternative system to the traditional idea of mobility still aiming at integrating the various already existing transport modalities.
The idea of transferring a car-sharing system into an Italian framework has rooted in the experience gained by the city of Bremen in Germany; thus, to guarantee the successful outcome of the transfer, the city of Bremen offered to the city of Bologna continuous practical assistance and all necessary tools required for setting up a car-sharing system.
Within the TOSCA project, the City of Bologna public transport operator (A.T.C.) with the support of the Bologna Municipality, implemented a pilot application of IST-based car-sharing, called CarAtc to guarantee a high quality of customer services in order to improve more & more environmental conditions.
Bologna, with a population of about 380.000 inhabitants, was one of the first Italian cities to ban private car traffic from the historic city centre. Today, up to 250.000 vehicles are on the move every day. ATC, the local public transport operator, is in charge of research, planning of and commercialising of innovative technological solutions for public transport, parking management in the area of Bologna and it is responsible for the depots for vehicles towed away by the police.
ATC operates urban, suburban and interurban public road transport in the whole Bologna City area. About 100 million passengers are carried annually, tendency slightly increasing. The company is particularly keen on developing modern strategies and technological tools for managing the transport demand, and alert in supporting the newest transport models in order to guarantee a service becoming more effective and efficien
Through its activities for facilitating the take up of IST-based car sharing and the expertise of already existing best-practice examples of car sharing, the TOSCA project gives considerable support to a number of transport- and environment-related policy objectives of the European Union.
The promotion of the idea of car sharing, as a very important element of an environmentally oriented urban transport policy, meets the objectives of all the EU policy documents calling for a more sustainable urban development, namely: 5th Environmental Action Programme 'Towards sustainability - Towards an urban agenda COM (97) 197, Communication Sustainable urban development in the European Union: a framework for action', Green paper 'The citizens network - Fulfilling the potential of public passenger transport in Europe' of the Directorate General for Transport (COM(98)431), 'Air quality framework directive (96/62/EC)', especially with regard to the Green paper 'The citizens network - Fulfilling the potential of public passenger transport in Europe' of the Directorate General for Transport (COM (98) 431) and to the 'Air quality framework directive (96/62/EC)' the contribution of TOSCA to the environment and transport policies of the European Commission is crucial, since it facilitates the implementation of a more sustainable urban transport policy in very concrete and low-cost terms.
Within the Green Paper 'The citizens network - Fulfilling the potential of public passenger transport in Europe' of the Directorate General for Transport the European Commission clearly defines its objective to reduce the dependence of cars by making public passenger transport more attractive, usable, more flexible and better suited to the requirements of the users. This paper explicitly recognises the benefits of car sharing as an element of intermodal services. It argues that car sharing emphasises the benefits for public transport because car sharing fills the 'mobility gap' to supplement the mobility services as a full alternative to the private car. By promoting the experience exchange of car sharing the DG Environment of the European Commission (in close co-operation with Car Free Cities and the City of Bremen recognised the value of car sharing for environment protection