If you’ve heard of GoGet, you may have heard about GoGet’s positive impact on traffic – namely that each GoGet car removes 10 privately owned cars from the road.

It’s true, but the idea that more cars reduce cars is a weird idea. Here’s something of a primer on how the GoGet effect works.

GoGet’s car removal effect is an outcome of the more general car sharing model, which gives members access to vehicles by the hour. While some members use GoGet to access vehicles different to those they own, the real benefits come from using GoGet instead of owning a car altogether.

A GoGet car being used in Docklands in Melbourne

Around 50% of GoGet members use GoGet to replace either their first or second car. Instead of owning a car, they use a mix of public transport, GoGet, and active transport to get around such as walking or riding a bike.

Some of those members are in families with multiple drivers on one account, but it equates to over 30,000 accounts that use GoGet instead of owning a car. With around 3,000 GoGet vehicles across Australia, that equates to around 10 private cars removed for every GoGet.

This statistic isn’t just back-of-the-napkin stuff. Multiple studies in Australia and around the world have proven the benefits of car share, time and again. Here are a few:

Few studies have found different results to these, and they align with the lived experience of city planners and local councils.

Removing owned cars isn’t the only way GoGet reduces car use – car share members also drive less, as detailed on page 8 of the Phillip Boyle report. A San Francisco study also found this, with car share members bring more selective about driving or taking public transport.

As a result of fewer cars and less driving, each GoGet car directly reduces traffic. While an exact percentage is impossible to determine, section 3 of the Phillip Boyle report explains how car share pulls three key levers to reduce congestion:

  1. Increasing the supply of road space – by removing ten private vehicles, each GoGet car frees up around 50 metres of road space.
  2. Move people more efficiently – each GoGet car is used by around 30 members, which is a far more efficient use of cars than private ownership.
  3. Change the level of demand – GoGet members drive around half as much as normal drivers, reducing the number of cars using our roads.

 

Beyond the positive impact on our cities, lower car usage is highly beneficial for the environment. By using fewer cars more efficiently, we reduce the environmental impact of the car manufacturing process, which accounts for up to half of a car’s life cycle emissions.

Additionally, GoGetters driving less reduces tailpipe emissions, which results in cleaner air and a smaller carbon footprint.

Whether it’s building more efficient cities or reducing our environmental impact, the benefits of reducing the number of cars in circulation are profound.

The growth of car share services like GoGet is certainly good for members, but it also directly benefits members of the public that don’t use the service themselves.

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.