Car Sharing to Save Money and the Environment Just Got Easier with SFMTA’s Convenient On-Street Car Share Pilot.
Car sharing is a simple idea that’s already helping San Francisco achieve environmental and transportation system goals as it provides residents and businesses a way to reduce their parking headaches and transportation expenses while maintaining access to “just enough car” for errands and other trips. Research has repeatedly shown that every shared vehicle available to users results in private cars being taken off the road, with conservative estimates of from 7 to 15 vehicles taken off the streets for every shared vehicle.
Traditionally, car share vehicles have been located in parking lots, gas stations, and garages, where members can pick them up and drop them off, but that can mean a long walk to a semi-hidden location to use a car, hardly an attractive or convenient option for many people. And many of these parking lots and gas stations are being redeveloped into other uses, meaning that car share organizations (CSOs) are literally losing ground on providing access to shared vehicles across the city, even as the need for car sharing grows.
Committed to encouraging car sharing as a practical transportation choice, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) is conducting an experiment to allow car sharing vehicles to park in spaces right on the street, right in our neighborhoods. The data-driven experiment will test the hypothesis that access to car sharing reduces the need to own a private vehicle. The on-street car share pilot will make hundreds of on-street parking spaces available across all districts of the city for use by qualified car share organizations (CSOs) over the two years of the pilot. New on-street car share pods are already appearing in SF neighborhoods, perhaps you’ve seen one (or shared one).
Permitting private businesses exclusive use of the city’s curb parking raises serious questions about equity and the public good, so data collection and evaluation is a central aspect of the pilot. Participating car share organizations (City CarShare, Zipcar, and Getaround) will pay monthly permit fees for the parking spaces, and they’ll have to collect and share data with the SFMTA about how the vehicles are being used, and who’s using them. For each car share space, the SFMTA will receive monthly statistics on unique users, trips made, vehicle miles travelled, and other utilization and performance numbers. And the SFMTA will coordinate with CSOs to survey users at the start and end of the pilot to learn whether and how travel patterns and choices changed, including car ownership plans and commitments. At the end of the pilot the SFMTA will evaluate the data and potentially recommend making on-street car sharing a permanent program, if public benefits to the program are substantiated.
Learn more about the SFMTA’s On-Street Car Share pilot:
Leave your comment below, or reply to others.
Read more from the Meeting of the Minds Blog
Spotlighting innovations in urban sustainability and connected technology
Akron Civic Commons launched in 2016 as a demonstration project of Reimagining the Civic Commons. After selecting Summit Lake as one of the sites for reinvestment, we immediately recognized that one of the greatest challenges to the work was overcoming decades of broken promises. There was a legacy of things being done to the community, not with them, and a healthy skepticism and mistrust of government and community organizations. If we wanted to do this work, it was imperative that we restore trust as part of the process.
The data we have gathered about trees in this region are powerful, but are mostly meaningful because they are in fine enough in detail to be applicable at a local scale. We spent our first few years gathering data so we could identify solutions based on need and not speculation.
In order to realize its potential, green infrastructure must be designed holistically in partnership with the community, delivered at scale, and maintained for the long-term.