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Autopia, founded in 2003, is a Belgian non-profit organisation offering many private car sharing services to a broad public. The Autopia concept offers tools for sharing own private cars in local communities to neighbourhoods, cities and organisations.
Since the very first years, private car sharing and the development of supporting tools such as software, contracts, manuals and workshops concerning the Do’s and Don’ts for installing private car sharing has been Autopia’s core business. In 2012, Autopia and Taxistop Francophone started the concept in the Brussels region and French speaking part of Belgium.
Autopia’s ultimate goal is to enhance sustainable mobility, more specifically trough private car sharing. Therefore, Autopia focusses on the following activities:
- Promotion of (private) car sharing
- Support of new and existing groups of people who want to share private cars. For this, Autopia has developed many tools such as: contracts, online reservation tools, schedules to determine and calculate prices, an online search engine to find other candidate car sharing users, etc.
- Initiation of a centre of knowledge and offering a forum to groups of private car sharing users so that they can exchange experiences
- Defending the interests linked to private car sharing such as free parking spots (in cooperation with local governments) and adapted insurance policies
- Creating and filling-in niches such as private car sharing in cooperation with building promoters, co-housing projects, local governments, etc.
Two recent examples of innovative car sharing concepts are sharing car fleets of local governments and sharing adapted cars for disabled persons. The first concept is an example of an innovative mobility management campaign and focuses on the example function of local governments by giving strategies and methods for sharing their own car fleet with citizens. Very often, the car fleet of local governments is only used inside office hours. After these hours and on weekends, the cars just stand still and are “unemployed”. On the other side, people are in need of using cars more often during these periods than inside office hours. Autopia developed a concept to match these two patterns and to utilise cars from local governments more optimally. Currently, 7 pilot projects are running. In all cases, the shared cars are less than 2 years old, 3 cars are electric and 2 run on CNG.
The second example concerns sharing adapted cars for disabled persons with neighbourhood and amongst homes. Adapted (wheelchair-friendly) cars and busses are underused and they are expensive. The Autopian AVIRA-concept links benefits on sustainable mobility and low carbon-emissions with benefits in terms of integration and participation in society of persons with disabilities trough sharing wheelchair friendly cars. The quality of life in neighbourhoods gets better because of benefits on social cohesion, free space and less carbon emissions.