The innovations that are collectively known as the sharing economy have the potential to provide significant benefits to consumers and to society as a whole. The rapid expansion of mobile internet technology has enabled the coordination of demand and supply in real time, namely “on-demand services.”
In the passenger transport sector, various forms of vehicle sharing and ride sharing have quickly developed in the last decade. There is considerable interest in how they may impact the sector and help to meet the new challenges that arise from demographic developments (e.g., urbanization, depopulation, the rise of millennials and the ageing of society) and from climate change. For instance, shared transport solutions could provide high-quality accessibility and mobility, while significantly reducing traffic volumes, emissions, and the need for public parking space.
However, the sharing economy could also present certain risks. Since transport markets are subject to imperfections, some oversight is required to ensure public safety, consumer protection and tax compliance. At the same time, we should aim to build a balanced and appropriate regulatory framework. The current rules governing market entry, ownership and control of digital data, geographic restrictions and pricing could be better adapted to the services of the sharing economy. Regulation needs to be flexible enough to enable the continued development and evolution of innovative services, yet focused enough to encourage their contribution to public policy objectives such as equity, accessibility, mobility, safety, environmental sustainability and consumer welfare.
This Roundtable will give ministers an opportunity to assess the implications of different regulatory approaches to the sharing economy in the transport sector. It will explore the following key issues:
Secretary General, International Road Transport Union (IRU)
Minister of Transportation, Argentina
Vice-Minister for International Affairs, Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT)
Secretary-General, International Transport Forum
Moderator, Chief Political Correspondent, Deutsche Welle-TV