Vilnius has been implementing car-sharing services over the past decade and it’s now the leader among other European cities. A leadership that, in the words of Remigijus Šimašius, is the result of “active involvement in seeking the most convenient solutions for residents and visitors”. Complemented with “a constant search for active and innovative partners”, adds the Mayor of Vilnius.
According to the press release, almost 20% of the capital of Lithuania residents have already used car-sharing services at some point. With an average of 1.5M shared car trips per year, the city has the largest car-sharing density in the region: 800 vehicles per 1M residents.
It should be emphasized that car-sharing has several positive consequences. This option frees up parking spaces as personal cars are estimated to be parked 96% of the time. There are even those who argue that one shared car equals 12 personal vehicles.
Another advantage of car-sharing is the fact that this alternative offers more safety since the cars are new and regularly maintained. Furthermore, reckless drivers are banned from using the service which means that the entire transport ecosystem is more secure.
Obviously, car sharing ends up having a strong impact in environmental terms as well. To get an idea, Vilnius managed to reduce its CO2 emissions by 2,200 tons in 2020. But the capital of Lithuania wants to do even more and for that reason decided to launch, in collaboration with local businesses, the Vilnius Shared Mobility Hub.
Vilniud Shared Mobility Hub and its purpose
The Vilnius Shared Mobility Hub is a mobility cluster that will be used to boost car-sharing services and economic innovations in the city. The idea is that more and more people avoid using individual cars to circulate across the capital of Lithuania, a change that will result in a bigger promotion of sustainability.
“As a car-sharing leader in Europe, Vilnius considers the mobility cluster to be another crucial milestone in encouraging other capitals and cities to use our good practices and make the region more environmentally conscious”, we can read in the press release.
Those responsible for this new project aim to increase the percentage of shared trips in traveling statistics. As well as boost the availability, safety, and efficiency of sharing services. It is also intended that Vilnius Shared Mobility Hub will serve to reinforce and make it easier the integration of car-sharing services into the development plans being drawn up for the capital of Lithuania.
Remigijus Šimašius defends that “Vilnius Shared Mobility Hub will not only enhance the car-sharing system but also open new possibilities of how to reshape the city’s image”. To support this affirmation the major of the capital of Lithuania explains that, through this new initiative, “the traffic will be scaled down, less space for personal cars will be needed and all this will allow to transform the streets, making them greener with new trees and shrubs”.
The collaborations with local and international businesses
As already mentioned in this article, the Vilnius Shared Mobility Hub was launched by the Vilnius City Municipality in collaboration with local businesses. In the list of the partners who were involved in this project, we find names like CityBee, the pioneer of shared mobility services in Lithuania. And the first fully electric car-sharing company in the country, SPARK.
This initiative counted too on the participation of Skok, an electric scooter sharing platform. Along with Susisiekimo paslaugos, a municipal enterprise organizing public transportation in the capital. As well as Go Vilnius, the official tourism and business development agency of the city. The Vilnius Shared Mobility Hub captured attention across borders and Bolt, an international company specialized in mobility, also joined the development of this project.
The team behind this initiative believe that “the cluster will facilitate creating a platform where both, the city and the businesses, could solve mobility challenges”. And “will help to seek for innovative solutions to increase the appeal for alternative mobile services”. Moreover “will boost the reduction of the traffic jams and parking issues”. At the same, the Vilnius Shares Mobility “will have influence in terms of prompting more sustainable and environmentally friendly travels”.
The city’s sustainable mobility plan
Vilnius is confident that, through the cooperation with the businesses and the resulting mobility cluster, will be easier to achieve the goals of the city’s sustainable mobility plan. One of those objectives is to reduce personal vehicles in the capital of Lithuania, more specifically: to decrease the use of them by 30%.
To accomplish this first point there will be a strong promotion of public transportation and alternative traveling means like shared cars, electric scooters, bicycles, etc. The shared travels shall, this way, exceed the 2% mark of all travels. The proposals specified in Vilnius’ sustainable mobility plan are expected to be met by 2030.
To finish, let’s just remember that the capital of Lithuania is also responsible for a successful electric scooter sharing system that attracted 150K users last year. Furthermore, Vilnius cooperates with five scooter service providers to make this alternative traveling means more accessible to the residents and visitors.
Under these partnerships the city its working in the reinforce of the safety precautions regarding electric scooter use. We are talking, for example, about urging the users to park them responsibly and removing them from nightlife areas to avoid drunk driving.