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If you are aware of carsharing, you probably are familiar with a claim that goes like this:

Most people in transportation focus on the five percent of the time that cars are moving. But the average car is parked 95 percent of the time."

The question is: where does this number come from? A post by Paul Barter offers 3 sources that all point to 95% idleness. If you have more recent data points, please let me know!

Data point 1: based on the number of cars, the number of car trips and the average time duration of car trips:

UK report on parking put out by the RAC Foundation uses this method based on data from the UK National Travel Survey (NTS) (see p.23):
"... there are about 25 billion car trips per year, and with some 27 million cars, this suggests an average of just under 18 trips per car every week. Since the duration of the average car trip is about 20 minutes, the typical car is only on the move for 6 hours in the week: for the remaining 162 hours it is stationary – parked."

Datapoint 2: Based on time drivers spend driving (from transportation surveys) and assuming one car per driver.

If your local travel survey spits out a number for time spent driving then you can use that directly for a rough estimate.

In the 1995 Nationwide Personal Transportaton Survey (NPTS) of the US Department of Transportation shows that the average time drivers spent driving was 73 minutes (1.2 hours). Assuming one car per driver (which is roughly OK probably for the US context), this gives 5% as the time each car is in motion.

Datapoint 3: Using car kilometres per car and overall average speeds

The average time each car is in motion is the car km per year divided by the average speed.

Let's look at the 1995 UITP Millennium Cities Database numbers using this method. The average percentage of time that cars were parked for the 84 cities in that study was 95.8%. They were typically in motion for 1.02 hours per day.

His conclusion?

It highlights a crucial inefficiency of mass private car ownership. It points towards huge parking space savings (an enormous land bank) that shifts away from mass car ownership might open up, if only we could massively improve the alternatives including making car-sharing and other 'metered access to shared cars' (MASC) more of a mass market phenomenon”. And we agree completely.

Would you like to explore how we could reduce the cost of cars standing idle for you? Please contact us via b2b@parkflyrent.nl

or call us at +31-(0)20-2616008

Note: Picture 'car parks' is taken by eGuideTravel.com and is used under Creative Commons licence