Have you ever used a carsharing service? This system allows you to book a car whenever you wish, for the time of a drive. In Luxembourg, two operators, Carloh and Flex, represent the market with stations almost everywhere in the country. Now operational, a national strategy shows the government's will to incorporate this system in the National Mobility Plan, for everyone's convenience and throughout Luxembourg.
An expanding carsharing network
With Flex and Carloh, there are two systems in place that encourage their customers to book a car when they need it and to give up using their own car. The benefit for companies and households is clear, especially in urban areas: rather share a car than pay a lot of money for the maintenance and the parking of a private car.
It is therefore no surprise that Carloh is managed by the City of Luxembourg, the country's largest urban centre. Although the 19 stations are all located in the territory of the city, the cars can be used far beyond the city limits.
However, the City of Luxembourg has developed a multimodal network that already allows customers to get to their destination by using soft mobility: buses, trams, cycling infrastructures and a bike rental service called vel'OH seduce the city's residents and visitors, as shown by statistics.
The managers refer especially to the needs of residents and small companies, for whom the car remains an important and flexible means of mobility – when needed. For the rest, the car stays put and is expensive, while it is taking up space. This is where carsharing comes in: renting instead of buying is the motto. The rental service therefore makes it possible to reduce the fleet of vehicles in the urban centre, using ecological and economic arguments that persuade customers: 200 and 300 trips per week are already being made, a clear success, given that the Carloh service was only launched in 2014.
What is carsharing?
Carsharing is a service that allows you to book a vehicle, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for a short period of time and then to hand it over to the next customer. The cars are situated in reserved parking spaces especially provided for this purpose and can be parked there after use, thus avoiding parking fees.
An essential part of mobility in Luxembourg
The ecological and economic argument also guides the thoughts of Flex's managers. This is a company established by National Association of Luxembourg Railways (CFL) which operates a fleet of vehicles available in 60 stations throughout the country, with a distinct concentration in the centre and in the southwest.
Although a significant number of stations are located next to railway stations, others have been set up in collaboration with municipalities in urban centres. The objective is clear: to offer alternatives to the public where they are needed, throughout Luxembourg.
Thus, carsharing is rapidly establishing itself as an important part of the multimodal mobility network planned by the National Mobility Plan, Modu2035. As mentioned in the title, the plan aims to change habits on our roads, including individual mobility, by 2035. Except for the planned increase in public transportation, the new regulations are mainly aimed at reducing individual traffic, i.e. repetitive short journeys such as a round trips to work or school. Carsharing is therefore a part of the efforts to reduce the density of car traffic and the fleet of vehicles, where possible. It is important to know that a carsharing vehicle can replace up to 10 individual cars.
The establishment of Mobility Hubs
Consistent use of this mobility option therefore allows companies and private households to remain flexible, while saving the costs related to the maintenance of a car.
In order to promote this mode of transport, the Ministry of Mobility and Public Works, author of the National Mobility Strategy and Plan, is promoting the installation of carsharing stations in Mobility Hubs, which provide a range of mobility-related services. The objective is clear: to provide residents, cross-border commuters and visitors with several options concerning their mobility in a single place, in order to make the use of individual means of transport redundant.
Together with other mobility components in Luxembourg, such as the free public transport network and the expanding cycling network, carsharing will completely change the way we travel tomorrow.