“Unless transport authorities are involved, no long-term change will happen.”

Enlighten • Pulse #5 • 3 min

Interview with Xavier Corouge, Managing Director of Europcar’s Urban Mobility business unit.

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The car: a new shared mobility solution?

5 min
Interview

Xavier Corouge, Managing Director of Europcar’s Urban Mobility business unit.

How will private car use change in the next 10 to 20 years?

For almost a century, the car has given us freedom and a great way to get where we want to go. But today – for obvious ecological, economic and health reasons –
it has effectively led urban mobility up a dead-end street. Congestion is getting worse everywhere. Public health is deteriorating. And targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions are more ambitious than ever. We absolutely must reduce the number of cars on the world’s roads.
To do this, we urgently need to adopt and embed new behaviours that no longer involve individual use of private cars, but shared use instead.

How can cars be integrated into the shared mobility of the future?

If you buy a car, you obviously want to get your money’s worth out of it, so you end up using it for all your journeys. Conversely, if you opt for carsharing, you only use a vehicle when you really need it, while continuing to take advantage of public transport and micromobility services for your other trips.
The first carsharing schemes emerged in the 1980s. Digital has now taken it to a whole new level, with carsharing solutions that are ideally suited to shorter journeys, especially in urban areas. Today, cars are part of the landscape in our major cities, but how they’re used can take different forms.
Free-floating carsharing is much like micromobility, where you use a car for very short journeys, and it competes directly with other shared mobility solutions and public transport.
Roundtrip carsharing, on the other hand – where users pick up and drop off the car at the same station – is clearly intended to replace private vehicles.
However, the success of these solutions is still relative. Compared to the billions of journeys made every day, it’s still a marginal trend. In Switzerland, for example, only 1% of the population makes use of this kind of mobility. And in Paris, it’s just 0.1%. There’s a huge development potential. We’re only at the start and we need to go much further, so that the car finds its rightful place in the shared mobility value chain.

What role can MaaS play?

Like healthcare or education, mobility is a shared asset. And like any shared asset, it can only develop in a cohesive and needs-responsive way if the public authorities are closely involved. MaaS has huge potential to reduce individual use of private vehicles – not just cars, but scooters and so on – by making it easier to adopt shared services as an integral part of a broader multimodal mobility offering.
But as well as incentive- based solutions, reducing single occupancy car use will also depend on measures such as road tolls, restricted zones and removal of parking spaces. The scope for transport authorities to introduce incentives coupled with their regulatory powers is crucial, especially in megacities where urban sprawl is an issue. Without their involvement, no long- term change will happen. In Singapore, the ratio of land used for parking and roads has been reduced to an impressive 12%, whereas in Los Angeles it’s still 50%! l


Xavier Corouge

Managing Director of Europcar Mobility Group’s Urban Mobility Business Unit
A graduate of the Grenoble Business School, Xavier is passionate about digital transformation, customer experience and brand engagement. Having gained international experience in the travel and mobility sectors, he joined Europcar Mobility Group, the European leader in vehicle rental services. Since May 2019, he has headed up the Urban Mobility Business Unit, which operates the GoCar, E-Car, Brunel and Scooty mobility offerings, as well as Paris’ new carsharing service Ubeeqo. Xavier talks to Pulse about the future of private cars in our cities, as well as our lifestyles and his vision for a more widely shared and inclusive mobility mix.

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