Carsharing as active transport: What are the potential health benefits?

Over the past two decades, car sharing has become a mainstream transportation mode for over a million users worldwide. It is thus far demonstrating some success in efforts to reduce reliance on the private car. While the economic and environmental impacts of car sharing are well explored, research to date has not addressed the potential health benefits to be gained from this emerging mode of transport. This article seeks to redress this deficiency through a novel exploration of the potential health benefits of car sharing. The article uses a health lens to problematise existing transport systems that are dominated by private car use. The conceptual potential for car sharing to address some of these problems is then explored. This potential is subsequently tested using a systematic review of existing literature. Peer-reviewed literature from 2005 to March 2013 was searched to identify evaluations of health outcomes associated with car sharing. A three step exclusion process was used to identify articles suitable for reporting. Data was then extracted for analysis using a standard code sheet developed for this study. Seven articles remained for reporting after the review process. All were published in transport related journals. There was very little inter-study similarity in design and substantial variation in the way results have been analyzed and reported. These factors prevent estimation of pooled effects and limit conclusions from this data. Not withstanding the limits inherent to the data, this review finds that all studies demonstrated that car sharing reduced vehicle ownership and/or changed travel behavior. These changes have potential health benefits. More rigorous scientific research is required to determine the health benefits of car sharing membership. Evidence to date warrants a conceptualization of active transport as extending beyond walking, cycling and the use of public transport in future explorations of related health benefits.


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  • Accession Number: 01521548
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 19 2014 4:44PM