Taxonomy and Definitions for Terms Related to Digital and Shared Mobility
This Recommended Practice provides a taxonomy for shared mobility—the shared use of a vehicle, bicycle, or other low-speed travel mode—that enables users to have short-term access to a mode of transportation on an as-needed basis. Shared mobility includes various service models and transportation modes that meet the diverse needs of travelers. Shared mobility can include roundtrip services (vehicle, bicycle, or other low-speed mode is returned to its origin); one-way station-based services (vehicle, bicycle, or low-speed mode is returned to a different designated station location); and one-way free-floating services (vehicle, bicycle, or low-speed mode can be returned anywhere within a geographic area).
Rationale: This Recommended Practice provides a taxonomy describing the spectrum of shared mobility services and includes functional definitions for shared modes (e.g., carsharing, bikesharing, etc.) and related terms and definitions (i.e., one-way, roundtrip, etc.). This Recommended Best Practice does not provide specifications or otherwise impose requirements on shared mobility. Standardizing definitions of shared mobility and supporting terms serves several purposes, including:
Standardizing definitions of different shared mobility services are essential for mainstreaming such services. Traveler unfamiliarity with shared mobility services, confusion in terminology used by the media, and international discrepancies also contribute to traveler confusion.
Standardizing definitions allows public agencies to clarify policies related to shared mobility, such as insurance, taxation, rights-of-way, parking, and zoning. While a number of definitions of shared mobility have been developed to address a variety of public policy issues, there remains no universal international definitions of these services. This results in varying definitions across countries and regions, often contributing to confusion over service features and public policies.
Developing standard definitions of shared mobility services can unify public and private sector definitions, and aid in finding partners and forming public-private partnerships.