Why Cities Need More Carsharing

How carsharing reduced traffic congestion

At first, the idea that switching from private cars to carsharing will reduce traffic congestion may seem illogical — how does replacing personal cars with shared cars help? However, studies like the one from City CarShare in San Francisco show that members report using personal cars a lot less than before signing up for carsharing services, while walking, cycling, and taking public transit more. This leads to fewer vehicle miles traveled (13,000 fewer miles daily for the hundreds of San Francisco City CarShare users, for example), which in turn results in less vehicles on the road, and therefore less traffic congestion. In the United States, the average carsharing member’s vehicle miles traveled is reduced by anywhere between 7.6% and 79.8%.

How carsharing reduces air pollution

Fewer vehicles on the road will clearly reduce air pollution, especially if increased traffic flow means less idling in gridlock. However, carsharing also reduces air pollution in other, less obvious ways:

How carsharing frees up valuable space

The average car sits idle 95% of the time and essentially requires a storage space for most of the day. Compounded with the fact that there are a billion parking spots across the US, which is four parking spots for every car, there are vast amounts of land dedicated to parking. This results in valuable land, often prime areas in downtown of cities, being used for curbside parking which exacerbates traffic congestion, or for unaesthetic parking lots which often sit mostly empty outside of working hours. Cities are beginning to wake up and start eliminating parking spaces. For example, Paris is on track to remove half of its 140,000 surface parking spots.

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