Shared mobility shows how to dramatically reduce emissions and traffic

OECD International Transport Forum, April 2020

This report examines how new shared services could change mobility in Lyon. It presents simulations for five different scenarios in which different shared transport options replace privately owned cars in the Lyon metropolitan area. The simulations offer insights on how shared mobility can reduce congestion, lower transport greenhouse gas (CO2) emissions and free public space. The analysis also looks at quality of service, cost and citizens’ access to opportunities. Further, the report examines the interaction of shared mobility services with mass public transport and the optimal operational conditions for the transition. Shared mobility in this study refers to optimised on-demand transport services that are shared among users. The report is part of a series of studies on shared mobility in different urban and metropolitan contexts. This is the first International Transport Forum (ITF) report on shared mobility which also explores deployment of the shared services through carpooling. Previous ITF studies have shown that shared mobility has the potential to provide citizens with a flexible and comfortable transport mode while reducing congestion and CO2 emissions.


The current mobility demand in the Lyon metropolitan region could be met almost entirely by shared mobility and present public transport systems, reducing private vehicles to only 5% of the modal share, all of which would be used for carpooling.

A scenario where carpooling is introduced as an additional shared mobility mode would result in an 87% reduction in the vehicle fleet, as some households would retain their cars. Even then,

  • Total distance driven would be reduced by 54%
  • CO2 emissions would still be reduced by 50%, and
  • Congestion would be reduced by 48%

If only 20% of private car trips were replaced by shared modes – a plausible scenario according to the stated preference survey:

  • vehicle-kilometres would fall by 11% and
  • CO2 emissions fall by 12%.

Introducing shared mobility would help optimise the use of existing bus and rail-based networks, including rail, metro and light rail transit (LRT). The public transport network in the Lyon metropolitan region is extensive and diverse. Rail-based solutions within the city centre provide efficient links to suburban areas and the core bus network covers a significant part of the bus demand. Were the city to replace underused and inefficient bus routes with a taxi-bus system, this and other shared mobility services could become feeders to public transport, reducing private car use by 20% and resulting in a 12% reduction of CO2 emissions and a 16% reduction in congestion. A survey for this study found that most citizens are willing to use shared modes for direct trips or to access high capacity public transport. The majority of current public transport users are willing to pay a higher ticket price for the new service and most car users expect shared mobility fares to be lower than the current cost of using a private car.

What we recommend

Integrate shared mobility services into the Lyon metropolitan region transport system

Shared on-demand mobility services could provide significant benefits to the Lyon metropolitan region by reducing CO2 emissions, congestion and the need for parking space. Shared mobility would also result in better access to opportunities for citizens, and make access more equitable for inhabitants of areas that currently lack connection to public transport. Create pilot projects and public awareness campaigns to achieve scale of service The development of pilot programmes and targeted public information campaigns can create traction among potential users and help avoid and overcome user resistance. Pilots may include consumer testing programmes of new mobility service, including carpooling. Shared mobility services should be scaled for effectiveness Reductions in CO2 emissions and congestion are higher when larger portions of car users shift to new shared modes. High levels of vehicle occupancy are key to generating effective geographical coverage at affordable costs for users. Policy makers should take this into account when selecting the types of vehicles to deploy and the fleet size for each shared mobility mode. In the case of low emission zones, adequate infrastructure should be installed in advance to limit congestion at park-and-ride stations, facilitate traffic flow, and provide safe and easy access to encourage ridership. Integrate shared services as feeders to public transport and make taxi-buses part of the bus network New shared mobility services can improve the performance of the existing public transport system if properly integrated. Shared modes can act as feeder services to the metro, LRT system and the rail network and lead to increased ridership. They can act as feeder services for selected higher capacity metro and LRT stations with no change to the existing infrastructure. Taxi-buses should cooperate with conventional buses of the core network or the future bus transit system, rather than substitute them. Ensure that transport infrastructure is adapted to meet the growing demand Shared mobility is only as effective as the infrastructure that supports it. Drop-off and pick-up points at public transport stations must sufficiently support the rise in passenger numbers. Additional system capacity may also be required for the different public transport modes to accommodate the increased ridership. Station layouts may need to be redesigned so that good access is maintained for the users of non-motorised modes and the specific needs of the shared mobility services are properly integrated. Public-private partnerships can enable the planning and development of infrastructure and the design of services towards meeting sustainable goals. Create legal and regulatory frameworks that encourage the uptake of shared mobility services to deliver societal benefits A shift to shared mobility requires the alignment of policy tools such as pricing, regulation and licensing, concessioning, land use and infrastructure design to provide a stable and predictable market for new shared mobility services and to maximise the potential benefits. Introduction of shared mobility services will require continuous monitoring of performance in order to adjust regulations or policies where outcomes diverge from objectives.