Urban transport is changing in any number of innovative ways as cities around the US look to alleviate traffic congestion, reduce air pollution and make their cities more “livable.”
One year on, the driving habits of Zipcar members in Baltimore have changed substantially, and that’s having several beneficial effect on the city’s “transportation landscape,” according to one-year anniversary survey results released by the City of Baltimore and the Parking Authority of Baltimore City.
“Zipsters,” as they are referred to, own fewer cars, drive less and use public transportation more often than they did prior to joining, according to a press release.
The two government bodies were instrumental in bringing Zipcar to Baltimore one year ago as part of an initiative aimed at reducing demand for parking, traffic congestion and vehicle emissions while, at the same time, offering residents affordable public transportation. Based on the one-year survey results, progress is being made on all four fronts.
Among the survey’s findings:
- 18% of respondents have sold their vehicles since joining Zipcar while 46% said they have avoided buying a car.
- 72% said they it was now less likely that they would buy or lease a car in the future.
- Only 12% of Zipsters reported taking five or more car trips in a month, down from 38%, while those now driving less than 500 miles per month increased by more than 17%.
- 14% bike more; 21% walk more, and 11% use public transportation more often. More than 1/3 said they use public transport to get to a Zipcar.
Having seen the results, City of Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is backing the Zipcar car sharing program as a means of successfully managing parking demand.
“We’ve shown that by working together, the city and Zipcar can make a positive impact on city life for our residents and businesses,” the mayor said.
“Fewer cars on the streets means less competition for limited parking spaces. It means fewer vehicles in rush hour traffic. And it means less pollution in the air. But best of all, this program offers affordable and convenient transportation at a time when many people in the city are looking for cost-saving options.”
Zipcar Baltimore now has 100 vehicles parked in convenient locations around the city, part of an initiative to provide affordable transportation for all residents. To help achieve that goal, Zipcar, working with the Parking Authority, was able to place vehicles in specific neighborhoods with low vehicle ownership within five months of arriving in Baltimore.
To join Zipcar you pay an application fee, an annual fee to join ($25 and $60, respectively, in Baltimore) plus hourly or daily weekday and weekend rates. You’re issued a Zipcard which is used to access the vehicle. Members can use Zipcar’s website or mobile phone apps to check availability, locate and reserve a vehicle.
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I've been reporting and writing on a wide range of topics at the nexus of economics, technology, ecology/environment and society for some five years now. Whether in Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Americas, Africa or the Middle East, issues related to these broad topical areas pose tremendous opportunities, as well as challenges, and define the quality of our lives, as well as our relationship to the natural environment.