A data sharing framework for car clubs would shed new light on how they are used in the capital, according to a new report by London Councils, RAC Foundation and Imperial College London.
London boroughs are currently working with car club operators and Transport for London to integrate car clubs into London’s transport infrastructure to meet the needs of Londoners and to safeguard the city’s environmental future. However due to inconsistencies and gaps in data collected, use of car clubs and therefore their potential contribution to London’s wider transport goals is not clearly understood.
That is why London Councils, RAC Foundation and Imperial College London are publishing a report on a data sharing framework between boroughs and car club operators. The Car Club Local Authority Data Standard (CLADS), is a sharing framework which will provide rich data related to car club use.
CLADS aims to provide important data sharing standards for all boroughs when it comes to understanding how car clubs work in London. This will allow boroughs to develop better policies with partners surrounding car clubs with the hope of improving services and increasing use across the capital.
With close to 250,000 members across the capital, the car club sector has the potential to become an important mode of sustainable transport in London. By encouraging a reduction in private car ownership and a shift away from car travel, car clubs could also help London boroughs make better use of the existing road network.
If more people opted to use a car club membership rather than owning a private vehicle, vehicles would only be used when essential. This would have positive impacts on London’s heavy congestion, improve air quality across the capital and also free up parking spaces for Londoners who need them most, such as people with mobility issues or businesses making deliveries.
Mayor Philip Glanville, Chair of London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee, said:
“Cars driven in London lead to greater levels of congestion, more carbon emissions and an increase in air pollution. Boroughs are committed to protecting the health of all Londoners and reducing private car use, which would have a hugely positive impact on London’s communities.
“Car clubs could play a vital part in reducing the need to own a car, freeing up London’s congested roads and pavements. This new framework is an essential foundation for learning more about the successes of car clubs and how we can better use them to reduce the total number of vehicles on the road, change how journeys are planned and encourage the use of greener vehicles across London.
“Boroughs are determined to help residents make more environmentally friendly choices. We would encourage people to think before using their cars for non-essential journeys and to consider walking, cycling or public transport instead.
“The only way we can achieve a greener future for London is to start making changes now. Improvements in data sharing and collaboration through the CLADS framework will help to make car clubs a better choice for growing numbers of Londoners.”
Steve Gooding, Director of the RAC Foundation, said:
“If those of us involved in planning and managing our transport systems are to give car clubs a fair shot at being part of our transport futures it will be because we have good, timely data on how well the cars are being used – are they really resulting in us making fewer car trips, but still being able to drive when we must?
“This study recommends a standard reporting format that would minimise the burden on the car clubs whilst giving highway authorities the information they need to gauge the role those clubs could play as part of their wider strategies to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality whilst providing the mobility we all require.
“We’re pleased to have commissioned this work, but know the hard work starts here; it is now for the car clubs and local highway authorities to rise to the challenge, as we hope they will.”
Notes to editors:
1. London Councils represents London’s 32 boroughs and the City of London. It is a cross-party organisation that works on behalf of all its member authorities regardless of political persuasion. More about London Councils here: www.londoncouncils.gov.uk
2. 'Better Data for Smarter Decision Making: The Proposed Car Club Local Authority Standard', the report co-authored by London Councils, RAC Foundation and Imperial College London can be seen here: https://www.racfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/Car_clubs_better_data_for_smarter_decision_making_Wu_Sivakumar_LeVine_December_2020.pdf