Car Sharing to Save Money and the Environment Just Got Easier with SFMTA’s Convenient On-Street Car Share Pilot.
Who will you meet?
Cities are innovating, companies are pivoting, and start-ups are growing. Like you, every urban practitioner has a remarkable story of insight and challenge from the past year.
Meet these peers and discuss the future of cities in the new Meeting of the Minds Executive Cohort Program. Replace boring virtual summits with facilitated, online, small-group discussions where you can make real connections with extraordinary, like-minded people.
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.
Please note that this comment section is for thoughtful, on-topic discussions. Admin approval is required for all comments. Your comment may be edited if it contains grammatical errors. Low effort, self-promotional, or impolite comments will be deleted.
Read more from MeetingoftheMinds.org
Spotlighting innovations in urban sustainability and connected technology
Why one city decays and another thrives can sometimes seem random. So, trying to foresee downrange why the future will happen in City A and not City B is hard. Moreover, to imagine that there is one formula that all 7.8 billion of us should adhere to, wherever it is we live, is clearly nonsensical.
In our work, we study, research, and rank places to determine what the best practices are to increase economic prosperity, social equity, and quality of life. Ultimately, the question we want to answer is: What is it that makes a city a place of the future? In our research, one thing has become clear to us: next-gen talent is the fuel for the future of place. And by extension, jobs of the future will happen in places of the future.
Digital twins and AI analysis would offer significant benefits to organizations across all sectors. By providing a comprehensive look at a geographical area and its infrastructure and assets, these technologies will enable smarter and more targeted field planning optimization. It could help digitize field surveys, offer new levels of remote engineering access, and enable contact tracing around COVID-19.
The focus will continue to shift away from the data itself and towards its relationships. The connections between data are where the most powerful insights lie. With enough data points, organizations can look to analytics to better understand the context and “see” the future.
AI at scale and emerging data technologies truly illustrate this connectivity and potential. Although it’s an emerging field, the benefits are limitless.
In my business, we’d rather not be right. What gets a climate change expert out of bed in the morning is the desire to provide decision-makers with the best available science, and at the end of the day we go to bed hoping things won’t actually get as bad as our science tells us. That’s true whether you’re a physical or a social scientist.
Well, I’m one of the latter and Meeting of the Minds thought it would be valuable to republish an article I penned in January 2020. In that ancient past, only the most studious of news observers had heard of a virus in Wuhan, China, that was causing a lethal disease. Two months later we were in lockdown, all over the world, and while things have improved a lot in the US since November 2020, in many cities and nations around the world this is not the case. India is living through a COVID nightmare of untold proportions as we speak, and many nations have gone through wave after wave of this pandemic. The end is not in sight. It is not over. Not by a longshot.
And while the pandemic is raging, sea level continues to rise, heatwaves are killing people in one hemisphere or the other, droughts have devastated farmers, floods sent people fleeing to disaster shelters that are not the save havens we once thought them to be, wildfires consumed forests and all too many homes, and emissions dipped temporarily only to shoot up again as we try to go “back to normal.”
So, I’ll say another one of those things I wish I’ll be wrong about, but probably won’t: there is no “back to normal.” Not with climate change in an interdependent world.