Even though in our society cars embody freedom and independence and carry emotional significance, Prof. Andreas Hermann and Klaus Radermacher call for rethinking mobility in the light of the traffic situation. They see in Switzerland the potential for a test track on which mobility can be tested as a service – a solution in which resources can be used efficiently and an essential ecological contribution can be made. A prerequisite for this would be the willingness of people to share cars.

In a guest commentary in the NZZ, Prof. Andreas Hermann and Klaus Radermacher use a capacity utilization analysis to show that privately owned cars stand around unused for the most part: in Switzerland on average 96.2% of the time. When they are in use, the average number of passengers is 1.6, so that 3.4 people could still be seated.

Taking into account the unused time of the vehicles and the low exploitation of seat capacity, this results in a seat utilisation rate of 1.2%. Bearing in mind that there are about 6.2 million vehicles in Switzerland, this means that about 31 million seats are available at any given time. Even if the utilisation rate is subject to fluctuations throughout the day, it is not difficult to imagine that these empty spaces on our roads and car parks cause numerous traffic jams.

Prof. Andreas Hermann and Klaus Radermacher conduct a thought experiment in their NZZ article. They present a scenario that is already reality in Hong Kong in a similar form: people living together in a neighbourhood use a pool of vehicles provided by the residential complex. In this way, the landlord could not only provide living space, but also offer cars that can be ordered via app and paid for according to use.

Learn more about it in the NZZ article: https://www.nzz.ch/meinung/weniger-staus-dank-weniger-autos-ld.1541006

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