Friday, January 25, 2013

CS2X Challenge

Here's a challenge to carshare operators, cities and carshare supporters everywhere:

What would you need to double the number of carsharing vehicles in your fleet or city over the next 2 years?

The incentives you propose should be realistic and do-able.  Yes, we'd all like to see a carbon tax, but at least in the US, that isn't going to happen in the next few years. 

Here are some examples, that may or may not apply to your city:
  •  Exemption from rental car taxes (lowers perceived cost of service to members)
  •  Joint fare card with transit system (simplifies membership)
  •  University bans undergrads from bringing cars to campus
  •  Access to HOV/HOT lanes for carsharing vehicles 
  •  On-street parking
  • Government fleet outsourced to carsharing
  •  Integrate P2P into existing service
  •  Expand service area
Ideally, several items in your proposal would be linked together to form a package since the politicians and funding sources like packages!

You could suggest money, of course, but to do what — reduce membership costs, buy more cars?  If so, please only assume you'll get the financial incentive over 2 years of the challenge period and that you have to be able to support the vehicles at the end of the period.

Note that I specify doubling vehicles not members because vehicles are what generate the revenue. And we all know that it's easy to hold on to inactive members who aren't using the service at all.)

Limitations: until we have better data on the impacts of one way carsharing service model, I'd like to focus the discussion on round trip carsharing services only since they're the only one's that have been shown to have substantial benefits to city transportation — reduced car ownership, reduced VMT, increased use of walking, cycling and public transit.

Why this challenge?

Carsharing (of the round trip type) offers some very real benefits to cities — reduced car ownership, VMT and GHG reduction and less parking congestion.  These are benefits that they are willing to pay for from other TDM providers — carpool matching services; public bicycle systems, etc.  In addition, because many of these carshare services are nowhere close to "scale" the benefits they are currently providing are less visible to the politicians and public.  Finally, because carsharing is mostly "free" to the city, they may value it less than if they had been paying for it.

So have at it — tell us how you would double the number of carshare vehicles in your fleet or city in 2 years.  Use the Comment button below to share your ideas.  Thanks.