Sept. 22 marks the worldwide initiative “Car-Free Day,” which encourages motorists to take a break from driving and explore greener options like mass transit, biking, scooters, and walking.
Zipcar, a global car-sharing company that is a subsidiary of Avis Budget Group, recently found through a survey that a segment of New Yorkers who share a car (compared to personal car owners) help boost the environmental and social health of New York.
Their car sharing eliminated additional cars, traffic, parking competition, and carbon emissions from the city. About 30% of Zipcar members in New York City ditched their personal car after joining Zipcar, eliminating an estimated 37,000 vehicles from city streets.
“As the cost of car ownership rises and parking becomes increasingly competitive in neighborhoods, New Yorkers are looking to car sharing as a cost-effective and convenient way to drive a car when they need one,” said Angelo Adams, head of Zipcar, in a Sept. 19 news release. “A little-known byproduct of car sharing is that it eliminates personally owned vehicles from city streets, which reduces congestion and competition for parking on the curb. Who wants the hassle of car payments and to circle the block in the Bronx or Queens? No one!”
The Impact of Car Sharing on New York City
Founded in 2000, Zipcar aims to enable simple and responsible urban living by reducing personal car ownership. According to Zipcar's new North American Transportation Survey, car-sharing New Yorkers take the suitable transportation mode (walking, biking, transit, car sharing) for the right trip, saving money and supporting sustainable urban living at a higher rate than the average resident. Of note:
- Car sharers eliminate congestion on New York City’s streets. New York City has the fifth most congested streets worldwide, according to INRIX. Those who share cars are not to blame for this unwanted title: 89% of New York Zipcar members do not own a vehicle, and 42% postponed buying a vehicle due to Zipcar. If Zipcar were to leave New York, members would purchase an estimated 56,000 vehicles or enough vehicles to line the roads from Manhattan to Albany, New York or Providence, Rhode Island.
- Zipcar fleet frees spatial equivalent of seven hometown baseball stadiums. Each Zipcar is estimated to replace up to 13 personally owned vehicles in New York City. With a fleet of over 3,000 vehicles, including hybrids and electric vehicles, Zipcar enables over 9.8 million square feet (about the total floor space of the Pentagon) of free space, or the spatial equivalent of 149 miles of protected bike lanes, Governor’s Island, nearly 14 Museums of Modern Art or the entire Carroll Gardens neighborhood.
Who Are NYC’s Car Sharing Users?
New Yorkers spend nearly 50% less on transportation costs. The annual cost of new car ownership totals a record high of $10,000, according to AAA. New York Zipcar members spend far less annually on total transportation costs than the national average: the average resident’s annual household transportation cost is estimated to be more than $7,000, whereas a Zipcar member's annual household transportation cost totals about $3,900, netting a 50% savings that can be used for housing, childcare or leisure, etc.
Car Sharing is for all New Yorkers. About 60% of Zipcar’s New York fleet is in “disadvantaged communities,” as defined by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Of its NYC membership base, 55% identify as BIPOC (60% in Queens, 90% in the Bronx), 90% live in multi-family housing, 30% report children under their guardianship (which is twice the rate of comparable markets), and 35% have a household income lower than the national median income of $67,500.
Car sharers embrace the “car-free” lifestyle. New York Zipcar members report walking, riding bikes, taking mass transit, and driving Zipcars only when truly needed, embracing greener transportation options more than the average resident: About 200 walking trips annually, 27 biking trips annually (nearly double the average resident); and 183 transit trips annually (21% more than the average resident).
Zipcar provides 24/7 on-demand, self-service access to vehicles by the hour, day, or week in convenient urban, college or business locations with gas or electric charging, insurance options, maintenance and dedicated parking included. Standard memberships are $9 a month or $90 a year, with driving rates starting from $12.50/hour and $103/day. Information: www.zipcar.com.