Top Car Sharing Cities in America

Reader Contribution by Walk Score
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This article was reposted with permission from Walk Score. 

A transportation shift is happening across America. Gas prices continue to rise. Car sales are down. Driver’s license ownership is declining. Car sharing is up. And millennials, the largest demographic since baby boomers, are moving this trend forward across North America.  

Walk Score’s new car share infographic shows the top 10 car share cities with the most car share locations (pick-up and drop-off spots) and the top three neighborhoods in each city. Top 10 cities with hundreds of car share locations are:

  1. New York City
  2. San Francisco
  3. Chicago
  4. Portland
  5. Washington, D.C.
  6. Seattle
  7. San Diego
  8. Austin
  9. Miami
  10. Boston

Frequent car share user Suzzanne Lacey says, “I like that car shares allow me to have access to a car but not have to own one.” Lacey lives in a dense, but residential, Seattle neighborhood and uses car shares about twice a month. “Parking is tough, so along with city living and a lack of parking space, having a car just when I need one makes the most sense for my lifestyle.”

Economic and cultural changes are driving the increase in car share use.

• Car shares save money: Average cost of owning a car is $9,859, while the average hourly cost of a car share is $9.64.If you drive less than 2.5 hours a day, a car share could save you money.

• According to The New York Times, “Last year, about 800,000 people belonged to car-sharing services in the United States,a 44 percent increase from 2011.”

• The millennial generation is ditching cars in droves: “The share of new cars purchased by those aged 18 to 34 dropped 30 percent in the last five years, according to the car shopping web site” Source: CNN Money

• Driver’s license ownership is down: “According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, just 28 percent of 16-year-olds and 45 percent of 17-year-olds had driver’s licenses in 2010 (the most recent data available). In 1978, the corresponding figures were nearly half and more than two-thirds.” Source: The Globe and Mail

• Automakers are taking note: Ford Motor Company released a report on the rapidly changing auto trends. “Car-sharing services, … carpooling by Gen Yers, bike sharing and ‘multi-mix forms of mobility’ are all explored as signs of how consumers are changing their car habits,” writes Adweek.

• Americans are driving fewer miles: Is the recession causing a temporary blip in car ownership and miles driven? Trends show the shift is more permanent. “The move away from cars is bigger than the U.S. (and bigger than the recession).” Source: The Atlantic. A DC Streets Blog analysis reports, “Since 2005, Americans have been driving fewer miles each year. While the shift predated the onset of the Great Recession, the question of whether the decline in driving marked a sea change in the way we get around or simply reflected a drop in economic activity has been a matter of considerable debate.”

• Gas prices keep rising: It’s no surprise to anyone who fuels up. Aside from disposable income being less than any time in decades, gas prices keep rising, making car ownership costs also rise.

• Car shares offer self-service convenience: Car shares can be rented by the hour 24/7 versus traditional rental car companies which often require a one-day minimum rental. You can take public transit to work, then use a car share for a one-way trip home to grocery shop.Car share locations are all over cities and residential neighborhoods versus a centrally located rental car office, making car sharing part of every life versus only on vacation. 

Photo By Fotolia/Minerva Studio  

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