From private car use to car sharing: context changes as facilitators for radical behavioural change
Organised car sharing is considered to be an ecologically promising new mobility offer. Car owners who give up their private car and join a car sharing-organisation change their modal split in favour of public transport, and they significantly reduce their driven car kilometres. But the latest research results only rarely rely on theoretical insights and can, up to date, not clarify if the car sharing-offer itself is attractive enough to evoke such radical behaviour changes, or if the consumer’s attention on car sharing is only attracted if his/her behaviour has already changed for other reasons before. Out of a theoretical, environmental psychology perspective as well as of a directly behaviourally relevant (politically or marketing-oriented) perspective, it is, however, important to clearly separate the effectiveness of a new service offer and the importance of situational conditions and/or personal factors for behaviour changes. As a starting-point for weighting the different elements we conducted a qualitative study. In interviews and group discussions, 39 Swiss car sharing-members were asked about their mobility behaviour before and after having joined a car sharing-organisation as well as their participation motivations. Most important result: Former car owners first underwent significant changes in their personal life context which made them give up the own car, before they became aware of the car sharing-offer and evaluated it. Nevertheless, the car sharing-offer itself is important to stabilise behaviour changes that have already taken place and to hinder former car owners from repurchasing a car in the new life context.