Rideshare company Uber is challenging 50 Australians to go without their cars for four weeks, and document that experience of switching to active transport and other sustainable options, in a world-first social experiment launched this week.
“This trial will provide insights that will help Australians recognise their overreliance on their car and decide whether car ownership is worthwhile for them.”
The San Francisco-based company is partnering with e-bike subscription service Lug+Carrie, e-bike and scooter share service Lime and behavioural change consultant The Behavioural Architects to run the One Less Car trial.
Participants will receive up to $1,300 in transport and delivery credits, to use for micromobility, public transport, carshare and rideshare, in exchange for giving up their car for four weeks and keeping record of that period.
Throughout March, Uber is calling for interested people to register for the trial in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Canberra.
“This trial will provide insights that will help Australians recognise their overreliance on their car and decide whether car ownership is worthwhile for them,” Uber says.
“To future proof the liveability of our cities, we believe that the one-person, one-car approach needs to be addressed.
“We hope to provide genuine insights with this trial, that not only help individuals work out whether owning cars is best for them, but also supports urban planning efforts across the country.”
Participants will be fitted with personal health trackers to measure their health and wellbeing outcomes from the change in transportation options.
In addition, behavourial experts will work with the participants to help understand their experiences, including whether it has benefitted them financially.
“Cars in Australia sit idle 95% of the time … Many Australians own cars that don’t make financial sense.”
Those insights will be shared with industry and government to potentially inform planning of more sustainable urban areas.
Uber points to statistics that show Australia has one of the world’s highest rates of car ownership, with 15.1 million private cars on the road, and private car registrations in this country are growing faster than the population.
“Road congestion and delays cost Australia more than $17 billion a year, and this is expected to increase to $30 billion by 2030,” it says.
“Cars in Australia sit idle 95% of the time. In sprawling metropolitan areas, parking can take up a substantial amount of public space, and kerbside spaces are designed first and foremost with private cars in mind.
“Many Australians own cars that don’t make financial sense, with Uber research indicating that at least 2.5 million cars in Australia are underutilised. Of those, 2.1 million are located in urban areas.
“Our research also indicates that, on average, if a car travels fewer than 5,000 kilometres per year, it’s likely to be underutilised.”