Electric car-sharing: uncertainty analysis in public initiatives of urban mobility

Type de publication:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, São Paulo (2018)


car-sharing, innovation management, public policy, Stakeholders, uncertainty, Urban mobility


The cities are facing big problems relating to urban mobility. In order to change the transportation and traffic situation, policy-makers and specialists are developing sustainable solutions arising from technologic innovation, socio-economical changes and political action. They have suggested alternatives, which are focused on the ideas of compact cities, land mixed-use, accessible intermodality, exclusive pathways to public transport, democratization of the roads and reconfiguration of private car use. In that context, a substitute for the use of the private vehicle is electric car-sharing - a car rent model in which the user rent a vehicle moved by electric batteries for short periods (hours or minutes). Therefore, it can have advantages from a private car without the ownership costs.
In Brazil, there are car-sharing projects led by the public sector, which aim to offer electric cars to citizens at recharge stations, in predetermined places, and in digital sharing platforms where they can be rented. The electric car-sharing is an emerging initiative in Brazil, as well as in other countries, though very little is known about their economic viability, potential market, and service impact in developing countries. As those car-sharing initiatives are essentially related to innovation, there are uncertainties on them, which affects the activities of stakeholders engaged in car-sharing projects.
Hence, the paper goal is to understand how the managers deal with uncertainties related to the implementation of car-sharing projects in three Brazilian cities.From case studies, an exploratory research has been conducted to contribute to the literature on uncertainty analysis, focusing on uncertainties that are in the public policy environment. The practical contribution of this research consists in identify uncertainties, which may assist the development of car-sharing services and other similar initiatives.
In order to reach the paper goals, it was made a literature review about uncertainty management and electric car-sharing. Articles approaching uncertainties, policy and stakeholders simultaneously were examined, as well as other articles that showed conceptualizations and problems in developing car-sharing system. On the empiric phase, the car-sharing developing process of three Brazilian cities - Rio de Janeiro, Curitiba e Fortaleza - has been analyzed. For the analysis, it was used 6 interviews (with 3 public managers, one of each researched city; and with 3 stakeholder organizations of the projects) - prepared from a semi-structured script, secondary data – from more than forty documents and technical reports, workshops and lectures, discussion and research groups about the subject, besides journalistic articles. The focus of the interviews was to uncover uncertainties, decisions and actions of managers who lead the developing of car-sharing services, so it watched knowledge gaps, doubts and unforeseen facts happened during the developing process.
Using the method described above (1) the uncertainties faced by managers were identified and classified in thirteen categories; (2) an investigation has been made to identify actions taken by managers to understand or mitigate the impacts from uncertainties; (3) an analysis - correlating the goals and the results of the projects - has also been made to recognize how uncertainties may affect the project developing process.
Besides finding thirteen categories, it is perceived that managers have relied on communication efforts, on the development of studies by PMIs, on alliances with other actors involved in the development of the system and on contractual relations, which are sometimes rigid and sometimes soft. Furthermore, it is admitted and discussed that sometimes plans are built on assumptions that are not clear among stakeholders. Lastly, there are indicated the implications that acknowledging the assumptions, along with the project objectives, might lead to the advancement of initiatives.

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