Handbook of the Sharing Economy
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Handbook of the Sharing Economy

Edited by Russell W. Belk, Giana M. Eckhardt and Fleura Bardhi

With the radical growth in the ubiquity of digital platforms, the sharing economy is here to stay. This Handbook explores the nature and direction of the sharing economy, interrogating its key dynamics and evolution over the past decade and critiquing its effect on society.
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Chapter 18: Urban mobilities and local regulation: transportation challenges and promise of the sharing economy

Hugh Bartling


This chapter looks at the intersection between mobility companies operating in the sharing economy and local policy makers in the context of North America. Much of the sharing economy’s market disruption has happened in the transportation sector. This is exemplified by the proliferation of companies offering car sharing, bike sharing, and scooter sharing. From a regulatory standpoint, local governments have a significant degree of authority to manage how infrastructure and public space is used. As sharing economy firms have entered the urban mobility market with new technologies and mechanisms for linking consumers with transportation providers, local authorities are facing new questions about how to use their regulatory power. By looking at three cases studies from North America, this chapter analyzes the ways in which local authorities have balanced safety, and competing demands on the utilization of public space, with the possible benefits that sharing economy firms can offer to urban policy makers in their effort to enhance urban mobility.

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