Car2Go arrives in the UK

In Birmingham, to be precise. It’s more or less a car club, but interesting because (a) it’s owned by Daimler, and is thus a sign of the car industry pursuing new kinds of ‘car-as-a-service’ business model and (b) because it doesn’t require users to return the cars to designated bays. The scheme is backed by the city council, the pay-as-you-go fee includes parking charges (and fuel, and everything else as far as I can see), and you can leave the vehicle in any public parking space. There are 250 cars at the start.

Carticipate – iPhone ridesharing/liftsharing app

Described here. Location aware seems to be the main differentiator from other similar apps (like the UK Liftshare). I think that could be useful sometimes, and not other times – if I am planning my return trip from somewhere, then having the app be aware of where I am now isn’t all that useful.

Both Liftshare and Carticipate are also Facebook apps, which seems to be the way the world is going. As with the web n years ago, if you are not on Facebook you don’t exist. Sad but true.

Mo: integrated system to promote modal shift towards sustainable transport behaviour

A great idea, well illustrated in this video. Focused on Munich, it incorporates a cloud-based personal travel assistant, reward points, bike (and cargo bike) hire, personal and corporate accounts – exactly the kind joined-up thinking we expect from Germany! It also includes car rental, public transport use, and a social networking element which can be used to promote community as well as better transport behaviour. There is more detail here; but it’s important to recognise that this is a project, not a working implementation.

Easy to launch P2P car sharing scheme to rival WhipCar

Described here, in The Guardian. Very similar to the WhipCar concept described here earlier, but with the backing of Stelios and his Easy brand, and Brent Hoberman of lastminute.com. Apparently it’s part of a relaunch of EasyCar, the Easy car rental service. There will be smartphone app, of course.

Interesting that someone as mainstream and conventional as Stelios is now interested in P2P. If I was WhipCar I’d be pleased; if there were never any competitors it would prove that it was a dud idea.

Bike sharing by Deutsche Bahn

…those guys know how to make the trains run on time! So it’s interesting that the philosophy and implementation is so different from other bike sharing schemes around the world. There are no docking stations, users locate the nearest bike (locked up by its previous user with a supplied lock) via their mobile, and unlock it by text or phone call. More information (in German, but if you don’t know how to use Translate by now, where have you been?) here.

For the avoidance of doubt, this is far from the only bike-sharing scheme in Germany – there seem to be loads of them.