People often ask me why a local government like Arlington would support a private sector company like Zipcar with its carsharing program. I tell them that research shows when people sign up for carsharing, they walk, bike and take transit more, and they often, over time, go car free. And that for every carshare vehicle we can save about 15 parking spaces. And all of this is good for our quality of life and business climate. That's why we do it. Well here's more proof from the City of Baltimore.
One year after launching their program in Baltimore (Hon), Zipcar found:
- 14% bike more
- 21% walk more
- 11% use public transit more
- 18% have sold their vehicle
- 46% put off buying a vehicle
According to FastCompany, the Zipcar's impact on how people use cars is enormous. Here's the money quote from FastCompany:
"These aren't just good stats for the recently public company to show that people love their service. It shows that car sharing--by Zipcar or others--can have a strong effect on a city's car ownership rates and public-transit use. That means less traffic, easier parking, and a generally more pleasant living experience for all citizens. As the benefits of taking cars off the roads start to become more clear, expect more and more municipalities to start working with car-sharing programs, or even launching their own."
Enough said. Oh, if you want to see some of our own studies on the subject visit our carshare page and read our initial reports or visit our Research site and check out the studies done by us and MWCOG.
Chris Hamilton is the Commuter ServicesTransportation Bureau Chief for Arlington County in the Department of Environmental Services, manager of CommuterPageBlog and a biking/Metro commuter from the LeDroit Park neighborhood in Washington, D.C.