Shared Mobility

What is Shared Mobility?

Shared mobility is the shared use of a vehicle, motorcycle, scooter, bicycle, or other travel mode. Shared mobility provides users with short-term access to one of these modes of travel as they are needed.

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Key Definitions

Bikesharing provides users with on-demand access to bicycles at a variety of pick-up and drop-off locations for one-way (point-to-point) or roundtrip travel. Bikesharing fleets are commonly deployed in a network within a metropolitan region, city, neighborhood, employment center, and/or university campus.

Carsharing offers members access to vehicles by joining an organization that provides and maintains a fleet of cars and/or light trucks. These vehicles may be located within neighborhoods, public transit stations, employment centers, universities, etc. The carsharing organization typically provides insurance, gasoline, parking, and maintenance. Members who join a carsharing organization typically pay a fee each time they use a vehicle.

Microtransit is a privately or publicly operated, technology-enabled transit service that typically uses multi-passenger/pooled shuttles or vans to provide on-demand or fixed-schedule services with either dynamic or fixed routing.

Ridesharing (also known as carpooling and vanpooling) is defined as the formal or informal sharing of rides between drivers and passengers with similar origin-destination pairings. Ridesharing includes vanpooling, which consists of 7 to 15 passengers who share the cost of a van and operating expenses, and may share driving responsibility.

Ridesourcing services are prearranged and on-demand transportation services for compensation in which drivers and passengers connect via digital applications. Digital applications are typically used for booking, electronic payment, and ratings.

Scooter sharing allows individuals access to scooters by joining an organization that maintains a fleet of scooters at various locations. Scooter sharing models can include a variety of motorized and non-motorized scooter types. The scooter service provider typically provides gasoline or charge (in the case of motorized scooters), maintenance, and may include parking as part of the service. Users typically pay a fee each time they use a scooter. Trips can be roundtrip or one way.

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J3163™: Standardizing Terms and Definitions

A consequence of the continuously growing and evolving landscape of shared mobility is the proliferation of proposed terms and definitions to describe these mobility options. Many of these terms are not consistently named, defined, or used in literature and practice. As a result, the shared mobility field is challenged with discrepancies in the use and definition of terms, which often create ambiguity and confusion.

To address this, the SAE Shared and Digital Mobility Committee embarked on the task of standardizing terms and definitions related to shared mobility. J3163™, Taxonomy and Definitions for Terms Related to Shared Mobility and Enabling Technologies was developed as an SAE Recommended Practice. J3163 covers six categories of terms related to shared mobility:

J3163 Term Categories

J3163™ – Taxonomy and Definitions for Terms Related to Shared Mobility and Enabling Technologies

Download the SAE Recommended Practice.

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Summary of J3163™

Download a one-page summary overview of J3163™.

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SAE White Paper on Standardizing Shared Mobility Terms and Definitions

Download the new white paper written by Susan Shaheen, Adam Cohen, and Annie Chang.

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SAE Shared and Digital Mobility Committee

In 2017, SAE established the Shared and Digital Mobility Committee. The committee roster is composed of over 100 experts from academia, private companies, the public sector, and non-profit organizations. The committee's objectives include:
  • Creating a common language
  • Harmoinizing global markets
  • Facilitating interoperability


For any questions regarding SAE's shared mobility portfolio, or to get involved in the SAE Shared and Digital Mobility Committee, please contact:

Pooja Chaudhari
Project Manager, Technical Programs
Global Ground Vehicle Standards