Car Club usage and COVID-19

Car Club usage and COVID-19

 

A car club is a membership-based service that enables no-hassle car rentals on a pay-as-you-go basis. In addition to being a money-saver for many car users, shared cars reduce the number of vehicles in the area, which has many environmental benefits. This project uses Enterprise Car Club data such as lot location, hire time and distance to understand space-time usage behaviours and how they changed during the pandemic.

One of the questions this project asks is what are the determinants of Car Club lot location? Since lots are not randomly allocated, their usage is determined by it. Therefore, selection bias needs to be considered when understanding Car Club usage, as people within proximity of vehicles have a bigger chance of utilizing the service. For example, having a Car Club vehicle in the local area is clearly a factor in whether an individual chooses to use the service and this project will use techniques like Heckman selection models to eliminate the bias in lot location. Understanding the effect of lot location on Car Club usage will help Enterprise plan future lot locations and alter existing ones if it is shown there is a need to do so.

The second aim is to understand the impact of the pandemic on Car Club usage. Are there different space-time trends? Models such as STARIMA (Space-Time Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average) will be used to understand travel behaviours pre and post pandemic. Furthermore, understanding the geodemographic factors associated with regular Car Club usage will provide a case for policy makers in local governments to reduce individual car-ownership by incorporating Car Club vehicles in local communities.

 

Team Members

Kristina Bratkova, LIDA, University of Leeds – Data Scientist

Dr Ian Philips, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds

Prof Greg Marsden, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds