Developers and Local Authorities are reviewing the implications of emerging new business models involving free floating car sharing (see the announcement of VW's We Share model earlier this week) . These business models involve the release of hire vehicles into a city or town without designated parking or compound areas. Under the free floating model, vehicles are available to customers who subscribe via app which identify and locate the nearest available vehicle, which could be parked either on-street or in a public/private car park.
Whilst the models hold great potential, the concern is that they may result in similar problems associated with dockless cycle hire schemes which has seen bikes clogging up city centre cycle parking. Free floating cars could take up a great number of city centre parking spaces, either on street or within existing car parks.
Another concern with such models is that they could compete with and detract from the investment that developers and local authorities are looking to make into developing intermodal travel hubs and facilities.
As a consequence of these concerns, authorities are looking at the legal issues involving the use of the public highways for the parking of inactive free floating vehicles. Developers and car park operators are also considering their terms and conditions for the use of private car parking. Many of the concerns highlighted reflect the points raised in the CREDs report - see link below.