There’s lots of good advice on staying healthy, but have you ever considered selling your car? It might sound odd, but there are multiple health benefits of car share, backed up by research.

Here’s a rundown of the many healthy benefits of car share for both you and the community.

The side of a parked GoGet car share vehicle, with a moving Melbourne tram in the background

When you switch to a car-free life, you’ll probably drive less. GoGet members tend to drive half as much as car owners, on average. This can make you healthier right away – an Australian study found people driving an hour or more each day were an average of 2.3kg heavier and 1.5cm larger at the waist than those who drove 15 minutes a day.

Non car-owners still need to get around, so they use car share, public transport, and active transport. Using public transport will generally see you walk to a bus or train station each day. Daily walks are proven to prevent type 2 diabetes, decrease blood pressure, reduce body fat, and reduce depression, all with zero negative side effects.

To further increase the health benefits of car share you can use active transport. The most common active commute is via bicycle, and the benefits of cycle-commuting are staggering. A UK study found that, compared to other commuters, cycle-commuters were:

  • 52% less likely to die from heart disease,
  • 40% less likely to die from cancer,
  • 46% less likely to develop heart disease, and 
  • 45% less likely to develop cancer.

Even cycling part of the way to work has massive potential benefits, with multi-modal commuters having a 32% lower risk of developing cancer, and a 36% lower risk of developing heart disease.health benefits of car share walking to work

The health benefits of car share doesn’t stop there. Here are a few more major studies that directly link car share and improved physical or mental well-being:

A study from the University of California, Berkley found that, compared with the average person, car share members were 3.6 times more likely to walk to work and 6.7 times more likely to cycle to work, invoking the health benefits mentioned above.

A 2011 University College of London study found “78% of [car share] members walked for 20 minutes or more once a week compared with the national average of 55%, and 32% cycled at least once a week, compared with 9% nationally”.

In 2014, the University of Sydney’s Jennifer Kent analysed existing research on car share’s impact on vehicle ownership and travel behaviour. Of the articles she studied, all indicated improvements (ie fewer vehicles owned and kilometres travelled), which she identified as beneficial to health outcomes.

health benefits of car share Car exhaust and air pollution

There are also collective health benefits of car share. As more people join car share networks like GoGet, they drive less and own fewer vehicles, which means fewer cars on the road. We have data on this, with each GoGet car removing 10 private cars.

That means fewer emissions, improving air quality, which isn’t just good for asthmatics. The World Health Organisation blames ambient air pollution for 29% of lung cancer deaths and 24% of stroke deaths. Research also shows pollution reduces the happiness of a population.

More people using active transport also improves safety. When more people walk and cycle, visibility increases, as does demand for bicycle infrastructure. With more infrastructure and driver experience, pedestrians and cyclists are far safer. In Barcelona, promotion of active transport increased walking and cycling by 26.7% and 72.5%, while pedestrian and cyclist injury fell by 26.7% and 1.4% respectively.

If you’re serious about improving your physical health, as well as the wellbeing of your community, consider joining GoGet car share. Unlike a fad diet or a temporary exercise regime, switching to a car-free lifestyle can make a lasting change to your activity levels. That will make it easier to improve your health over the long term, and not lose what you’ve worked so hard for.

About Tim Beau Bennett

Tim is an ex-journalist and radio presenter, and has been a professional writer for over a decade. He regularly writes about technology, lifestyle, and smart cities, and has written for news site including the ABC, SBS, and Australian Financial Review.