Insights into carsharing demand dynamics: Outputs of an agent-based model application to Lisbon, Portugal

L. Miguel Martínez, Gonçalo Homem de Almeida Correia*, Filipe Moura, Mafalda Mendes Lopes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Two important claims for carsharing systems are their increased flexibility and potential contribution to reducing transport externalities such as pollution. Carsharing typically involves a fleet of vehicles in stations around a city that clients may use on an hourly-payment basis. Classical round-trip systems address a niche market of shopping and errand trips. However, a growing market is now arising providing one-way trips to clients. Great uncertainty remains on the economic viability of this type of carsharing given the complex relation between supply and demand, and how this may influence the level of service provided. Realistic modeling tools that include both supply and demand characterization and allow testing several carsharing operational parameters are scarce. In this sense, a detailed agent-based model was developed to simulate one-way carsharing systems. The simulation incorporates a stochastic demand model discretized in time and space and a detailed environment characterization with realistic travel times. The operation includes maintenance operations, relocations and reservations. The model was applied to the case-study city of Lisbon. Our results show that comparing to other modes, carsharing performs worse than private cars both in terms of time and cost. Nevertheless, it clearly outperforms taxis in terms of cost, and outperforms buses, metro and walking in terms of travel time. The competitiveness of carsharing is highly determined by trip length, becoming more competitive than other modes (travel-time wise) as trips become longer. The operational policies as car-fleet relocation and car reservation showed significant effects in enhancing profit while preserving good customers' satisfaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-159
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Sustainable Transportation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2017


  • Agent-based modeling
  • discrete choice model
  • Lisbon
  • one-way carsharing
  • public transport


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