By Andy Thornley
Vehicle sharing is a great option for getting around and doing the things we all need to do with a car, without having to own a car. Whether it’s for running errands, visiting friends, or making a day trip to the beach, vehicle sharing services help give people access to “just enough car” and help reduce car ownership and the pressure on parking spaces. That’s good for household budgets, good for roadway and curb congestion, and good for the environment.
San Francisco has long embraced car sharing as a policy-positive tool, and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) has elevated car sharing as a mode choice to prioritize and facilitate as part of its strategic planning and operations. In addition to extending reserved parking permit fee discounts to qualified vehicle sharing organizations (VSO’s) at the 19 city-owned garages, the SFMTA administers an on-street car share parking permit program, stationing shared vehicles right at the curb, making them visible and available to all.
In 2017, following a large-scale pilot program, the On-Street Shared Vehicle Permit Program grants permits to VSOs, establishing clearly marked curbside parking spaces for dedicated shared vehicle use. Monthly permit fees range from $20-$130, depending on the section of the city in which a permitted space is located; permittees are also obliged to gather and share utilization data with the agency, and while shared vehicles parked in designated on-street spaces are exempt from street cleaning enforcement, permittees must maintain parking spaces as clean as if they’d been swept by a street cleaner.
Convenient vehicle sharing helps give people the flexibility to sell their car or forego buying one. One of the key findings in the pilot program evaluation was that the average on-street shared vehicle in San Francisco is used by 19 different people each month, with some shared on-street vehicles used by 30 or 40 or 60 different neighbors. Beyond saving users money and time, this sort of space utilization can really help to squeeze the most out of finite and contested curb.
For more information on the program, visit the SFMTA website: sfmta.com/vehiclesharing.
Andy Thornley is a senior administrative analyst in the Parking & Curb Management section of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.
By Brandy Stanley, CAPP
TNCs are not a new phenomenon, but handling them effectively to reduce the congestion they cause and move people through the downtown core is quite a challenge.
The City of Las Vegas is taking a two-pronged approach to helping TNCs do business downtown:
- Using large kiosks with visual cues to help TNC drivers understand where to pick up and drop off passengers and how long they can stay there is proving to be a highly effective strategy for managing precious curb space in busy areas.
- To get TNCs out of traffic circulation while they wait for the next ride, the city has identified empty parking assets to offer to these drivers. Providing a place to use the restroom, access WiFi, and rest keeps the drivers happier as well as clearing up the streets.
These two programs have been evolving since prior to COVID and continue to evolve as the city emerges from the pandemic; they involve extensive technology, marketing, stakeholder involvement, and partnerships with the TNCs and local businesses. There are also plenty of lessons learned and “back to the drawing board” moments, as is often the case when blazing a trail.
Brandy Stanley, CAPP, is parking services manager for the City of Las Vegas. She will present on this topic at the 2021 IPMI Parking & Mobility Conference & Expo, Nov. 29 – Dec. 3, in Tampa, Fla. Click here for details and to register.
Daimler AG and BMW have launched a new brand–NOW–to offer mobility-as-a-service to customers. “We really want to be kind of almost the PayPal of mobility,” said company North American CEO Nat Parker.
The company is split into five segments:
- REACH NOW offers ticketing and trip planning.
- SHARE NOW is for car-sharing.
- FREE NOW offers ride-hailing.
- PARK NOW provides parking options.
- CHARGE NOW helps electric-vehicle drivers find charging.
For the moment, the company is focused on the Pacific Northwest; it says it hopes to expand its services by working with nearly 20 U.S. transit agencies. It also hopes to expand in Europe.
Read the whole story here.
A new electric vehicle (EV) share model may change the way people use car-share, at least in Ireland. The twist? Park the car anywhere you want when you’re finished with it.
Danish company Green Mobility operates its sharing service in operational zones, which are often defined as specific city limits. Unlike traditional car-share models that mandate specific pick-up and drop-off locations, Green Mobility users can park their cars in any legal space within that limit. The next user locates the nearest car with an app, which also unlocks and later locks the vehicle. Cars that drop below 10 percent of charge are automatically dropped from the app, and a mobile team takes care of charging, cleaning, and maintenance of the company’s fleet.
Green Mobility’s first Irish fleet consists of 400 cars deployed in Dublin. Read more about it here.
By Casey Jones, CAPP
We live in exciting transportation times, where the pace of innovation, creativity, and effort by the technology powerhouses such as Google and Amazon are at a breakneck pace. In places large and small, on college campuses, at shopping malls, and at the airports we frequent, we’re seeing a surge of car-share, bike-share, and now shooter-share offerings that previously seemed unimaginable. But with every new technology and innovation there are unintended consequences–often positive but sometimes negative–that are a necessary and expected outcome of progress.
In our industry, we’re seeing this play out each day. Take car-share for example. New research reported in StreetsBlog NYC by transportation analyst Bruce Schaller recently revealed that 70 percent of trips by transportation network companies (TNCs) are occurring in nine major metropolitan areas, adding 5.7 billion vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and adding still more congestion to the places already overwhelmed by traffic jams, pollution, and growing commute times. What’s more surprising and alarming is the impact of car-share trips on alternatives to driving. Schaller’s research shows that the bulk of TNC trips–60 percent–either replace transit, biking, and walking, or would not have been made without the availability of TNCs. The remaining 40 percent of trip displacement is split evenly between personal vehicle trips and trips previously accommodated by taxis.
The stakes are high for cities to address congestion, safety, pollution, and the viability of critical public transportation systems, and if TNCs wish to remain viable, they cannot compound the challenges cities face. Municipal government bodies must act now to put in place policies and management strategies to accommodate emerging shared-use transportation services in a manner that reduces their adverse impacts.
Casey Jones, CAPP, is vice president of TimHaahs.