Urban Technology

Behavioural perspective on car owners’ uptake of shared e-mobility

car owners’ motives for, and barriers to, trying out a vehicle from a Smart Shared Green Mobility Hub


In the Interreg Smart Shared Green Mobility Hubs project, electric shared mobility is offered through eHUBs in the city. eHUBs are physical places in neighbourhoods where shared mobility is offered, with the intention of changing citizens’ travel behaviour by creating attractive alternatives to private car use. In this research, we aimed to gain insight into psychological factors that influence car owners’ intentions to try out shared electric vehicles from an eHUB in order to ascertain: 1. The psychological factors that determine whether car owners are willing to try out shared electric modalities in the eHUBs and whether these factors are identical for cities with different mobility contexts. 2. How these insights into psychological determinants can be applied to entice car owners to try out shared electric modalities in the eHUBs. Research was conducted in two cities: Amsterdam (the Netherlands) and Leuven (Belgium). An onlinesurvey was distributed to car owners in both cities in September 2020 and, additionally, interviews wereheld with 12 car owners in each city. In general, car owners from Amsterdam and Leuven seem positive about the prospect of having eHUBs in their cities. However, they show less interest in using the eHUBs themselves, as they are satisfied with their private car, which suits their mobility needs. Car owners mentioned the following reasons for not being interested in trying out the eHUBs: they simply do not see a need to do so, the costs involved with usage, the need to plan ahead, the expected hassle with registration and ‘figuring out how it works’, having other travel needs, safety concerns, having to travel a distance to get to the vehicle, and a preference for ownership. Car owners who indicated that they felt neutral, or that they were likely to try out an eHUB, mentioned the following reasons for doing so: curiosity, attractive pricing, convenience, not owning a vehicle like those offered in an eHUB, environmental concerns, availability nearby, and necessity when their own vehicle is unavailable. In both cities, the most important predictor determining car owners’ intention to try out an eHUB is the perceived usefulness of trying out an eHUB. In Amsterdam, experience with shared mobility and familiarity with the concept were the second and third factors determining car owners’ interest in trying out shared mobility. In Leuven, pro-environmental attitude was the second factor determining car owners’ openness to trying out the eHUBs, and age was the third factor, with older car owners being less likely to try one out. Having established that perceived usefulness was the most important determinant for car owners to try out shared electric vehicles from an eHUB, we conducted additional research, which showed that, in both cities, three factors contribute to perceived usefulness, in order of relevance: (1) injunctive norms (e.g., perceiving that society views trying out eHUBs as correct behaviour); (2) trust in shared electric mobility as a solution to problems in the city (e.g., expecting private car owners’ uptake of eHUBs to contribute to cleaner air, reduce traffic jams in city, and combat climate change); and (3) trust in the quality and safety of the vehicles, including the protection of users’ privacy. In Amsterdam specifically, two additional factors contributed to perceived usefulness of eHUBs: drivers’ confidence in their capacity to try out an unfamiliar vehicle from the eHUB and experience of travelling in various modes of transport. Drawing on the relevant literature, the results of our research, and our behavioural expertise, we make the following recommendations to increase car users’ uptake of shared e-mobility: 1. Address car owners’ attentional bias, which filters out messages on alternative transport modes. 2. Emphasise benefits of (trying out) shared mobility from different perspectives so that multiple goals can be addressed. 3. Change the environment and the infrastructure, as infrastructure determines choice of transport. 4. For Leuven specifically: target younger car owners and car owners with high pro-environmental attitudes. 5. For Amsterdam specifically: provide information on eHUBs and opportunities for trying out eHUBs.

Reference Kreemers, L. M., Tamis, M., van Brecht, J., & van Gent, M. J. (2021). Behavioural perspective on car owners’ uptake of shared e-mobility: car owners’ motives for, and barriers to, trying out a vehicle from a Smart Shared Green Mobility Hub. Hogeschool van Amsterdam.
Published by  AKMI 3 November 2021