At the International Transport Forum (ITF) in Leipzig, it was announced that the world's current vehicle count is more than 850 million cars and small trucks. However in its Transport Outlook 2011 report the ITF projects that number is expected to increase to 2.5 Billion vehicles by 2050.
The vast majority of this growth will come from the developing countries since travel by passenger vehicle in a number of high-income countries has not increased, and even declined in some countries. Adding that many more vehicles in a sustainable way is an "extraordinary challenge", said Jack Short, Secretary General of the ITF.
Short recognized making such projections is risky because many factors such as lower economic growth, new technologies, or congestion in cities will have an impact on levels of car ownership in future.
"Sharing vehicles is much more efficient and represents a huge opportunity," stated Robin Chase, CEO of Buzzcar, a car sharing network to be launched shortly in France. The forum is an intergovernmental organization for the transportation sector involving 52 different nations. The Transport Outlook report released at the forum to the 800 plus attendees from more than 50 countries did not factor in the potential for car sharing to offer personal mobility without car ownership.
This car sharing makes sense from the perspective that most vehicles sit 22 of the 24 hours per day. In Japan, Toyota stated it would launch a car sharing program for residents at three condominiums in Tokyo and Nagoya next spring, using its Prius Plug-in Hybrid and a new electric vehicle now under development.
Audi Japan KK is launching a car rental service, initially targeting existing owners and eventually expanding it to cover other drivers.
Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co.