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CARSHARING/INTRO


source: ecoplan.org/carshare/cs_index.htm

www.carsharing.net/what.html

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Carsharing offers a solution of one of the most intractable problems of modern urban life – how to have the convenience and flexibility of a private car without owning one…
  • a group of people share cars, and share the expenses as well. Carsharing is especially suitable for large and compact cities (agglomerations of 300,000 or more). It has been successful in cities like Amsterdam, Zürich, Berlin, Vienna, Montreal and Seattle. In cities with fewer inhabitants, it tends to be difficult to build up a dense network. One study has shown that well over 10% of the population of large, compact cities are potential carsharing customers; (1)


  • over the past ten years a sophisticated system of car sharing has developed in Europe. There are now more than 150,000 subscribers in over 200 organisations sharing vehicles, thereby avoiding buying their own cars;


  • the impetus has been to protect the environment by reducing the number of cars produced (the amount of energy required to manufacture a car is nearly equivalent to the amount of energy used in 2 years of operation), as well as to reduce the amount of parking needed. An average of from 12 to 20 people can easily share a single car; (2)


  • if you drive less than 10-15,000 km a year and you don't need a car for work every day, car sharing will likely save you thousands of dollars a year, give you greater mobility - and actually reduce pollution;


  • by not owning a car you tend to drive less. Several studies in the Netherlands, Germany and in the United States suggest that participants reduce their car usage by 30% to 47%: since you pay on the basis of use, the less you drive the less you pay. Members still tend to use their bikes for smaller trips, and also still find transit to be a good choice when available. But late at night, in a blizzard, or on the weekend when public service diminishes, the shared car is an attractive option for many. And if you need a bicycle rack one is readily available;


  • the European systems have become quite sophisticated: some will guarantee the delivery of a vehicle to your house within 15 minutes, others offer members 24 hour reservation services, discounts on urban and inter-urban transit service, even reduced taxi rates. Membership in one city allows access to services in over 70 cities. One can take the train to another city and then rent a car or a bike to use while there. Often cargo bicycles and trailers are also available.

(1) Australian Greenhouse Office, “Carsharing: an overview”, Canberra, December 2004. [ www.greenhouse.gov.au/tdm/publications/pubs/carsharing-dec04.pdf]

(2) Tooker Gomberg, “Having your car and eating it, too”, Greenspiration! Articles, [ www.greenspiration.org/Article/HavingCarEatingItToo. html]
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