Car sharing is the self-service availability of vehicles to users who subscribe or register for the service. These cars can form fleets, managed by car sharing operators. However, there are several types of car sharing.
Closed-loop is the most traditional form of car sharing. The vehicle is picked up and dropped off at the same station. With direct trace car sharing, the vehicle is collected from one station and dropped off at another. These two types of car sharing require prior reservation.
The 3rd form of car sharing is free-floating. This is the most flexible mode of operation for the user: without prior reservation, and with no pick-up or drop-off stations. The customer geolocates the vehicle via the dedicated smartphone application. Free-floating car sharing is typical of large cities such as Madrid, Paris, Lyon and Milan, because the service requires a high population density and infrastructure. Zity by Mobilize is an example of free-floating car-sharing covering major European capitals.
In addition to these car sharing professional services, there are also private individuals who wish to share their own vehicle on a more or less regular basis. This can be done on a one-to-one level, or through a car sharing platform. For the customer, this means organising ahead of time to book well in advance, in particular to be able to specify the rental period. The advantage of car sharing between private individuals is undoubtedly its geographical coverage outside conurbations.