Car Sharing: Grading the College Campus Market

Northcoast Research Partners’ report on adoption of car sharing at U.S. universities shows a yearly growth rate of 20-30 percent on a majority of campuses that start a program.

Northcoast Research Partners recently completed a quantitative survey and conversations with 35 college transportation directors and administrators regarding the adoption of car sharing on their college campuses. Based on Northcoast’s research, the college campus market remains a small but emerging market for car-sharing operators.

This is an estimated outlook of what the market would look like if penetration rates continue to rise with members utilizing the service at 40 hours per year at a $35 annual fee and $10-per-hour rental fee. With a U.S. student population of about 19-20 million, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, Northcoast estimates that if about 20 percent of students used the program at these same rates and fees, the industry could boast a market size upwards of $1.6 billion.
This is an estimated outlook of what the market would look like if penetration rates continue to rise with members utilizing the service at 40 hours per year at a $35 annual fee and $10-per-hour rental fee. With a U.S. student population of about 19-20 million, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, Northcoast estimates that if about 20 percent of students used the program at these same rates and fees, the industry could boast a market size upwards of $1.6 billion.

This research finds that most college campuses that start a program see sizeable growth rates in car sharing usage, growing 20-30 percent on a year-over-year basis. Colleges and universities with car sharing already “fully deployed” for two to three years are experiencing total student body adoption rates of about 10-15 percent.

Northcoast estimates that if all colleges and universities in the country deployed car sharing, the market size could evolve to $400 million to $1.65 billion in total revenues on the long term, assuming that membership fees and hourly usage rates remain consistent, and the penetration rate across the entire U.S. hovers around 5-20 percent.

Schools expect the growth of members and fleet to approximate 20-30 percent in the near-future as offerings become better known and embraced by students.
Schools expect the growth of members and fleet to approximate 20-30 percent in the near-future as offerings become better known and embraced by students.

College campuses are looking at car sharing as an integral component of student life and campus parking/transportation strategies. The proliferation of car sharing on college campuses is a result of the following factors: schools looking to reduce the number of cars on campus, students looking to fill transportation needs, increased flexibility by members to “go as they please” and overall efforts to be “green.”

Without question, car sharing is on its way to becoming mainstream in a number of top car-share markets and college campuses. In our opinion, 2011 and 2012 will stand as important years for the car-sharing market as we begin to learn more about consumer adoption and get a better view of competitors.

CONTINUED:  Car Sharing: Grading the College Campus Market
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