Collaborative consumption model drives a new wave of travel productsNewsBy Viewpoints | September 23, 2011Share This article was originally published on NB: This is a guest article by Nicolas Brusson, co-founder of car sharing platform Comuto.We’ve heard a lot about the rise of collaborative consumption over the last few years and Rachel Botsman’s book What’s Mine is Yours is one of the best pieces on the subject.While there are hundreds (maybe thousands) of initiatives in the space, the vertical that has received most of the attention - and clearly the widest adoption - is the accommodation sharing one.Companies such as Airbnb and others including Couchsurfing, which recently raised $7.6 million of VC funding, have transformed the accommodation business with their novel peer-to-peer (p2p) model.There is a good reason for the accommodation sharing vertical to be the most successful: it makes a lot of economic sense! If you think of it, your house or apartment is probably your largest cost centre, swallowing as much as a fifth of your income.Interestingly, the second largest cost burden for most people is their car (and transport in general). Independent research commissioned by BlablaCar revealed that 89% of respondents feel that the overall running cost of their car has become increasingly difficult to manage, while two thirds are put off going on UK breaks away as a direct result of the high cost of travel.With petrol prices having risen by 41% over the last four years, and transport costs constantly on the rise with rail fares due to increase by 8% next year in Britain, it is no surprise that carpooling sites are experiencing exponential growth in Europe.BlablaCar recently announced that its 1.3 million strong community has shared over one billion kilometres and saved over £100 million by sharing car journeys. The company has a wide European network including Spain, France, Belgium and the UK, but it is not alone with lots of other sites across Europe typically focusing on their home market.The concept around journey sharing is pretty similar to Airbnb’s paradigm, where drivers post details of their trip, the number of seats available and a suggested price.Potential passengers searching for a specific trip then choose whether or not this fits with what they want to pay. Sites like BlablaCar allow drivers to earn extra income on journeys they would do anyway and make the pricing pretty transparent.So, in many ways we are pretty far from the hitchhiking of the 1970s and moved to a well functioning and economically viable market place.In countries like France, Belgium, Germany and Spain, it has now become a viable travel alternative with hundreds of thousands of people traveling this way and the UK is catching very quickly.So, while leadership in disrupting the accommodation industry through p2p services clearly comes from the US, leadership in disrupting the transport industry is coming from Europe.NB: This is a guest article by Nicolas Brusson, co-founder of car-sharing service Comuto.