A Honda Element to be used in the Getaround Portland, Ore. service.

A Honda Element to be used in the Getaround Portland, Ore. service.

The city of Portland will be partnering with peer-to-peer car-sharing company Getaround, which was selected by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to participate in a joint initiative with the city to use $1,725,000 in federal funding to launch service in the greater Portland metropolitan area by February of 2012.

The launch follows an initial launch at Portland State University. Portland commuters and car owners can begin signing up for Getaround service at http://www.getaround.com.

According to a Getaround press release, the grant in Portland is the first federal grant ever awarded for peer-to-peer car sharing. The selection of Getaround by the FHWA as the car-sharing provider for the state’s pilot program was based on Getaround’s technology, insurance program and successful track record in enabling car owners to safely and easily share their cars in other metropolitan areas, including the San Francisco Bay Area.

“The city of Portland continues to partner with the private sector, providing new alternatives to expensive personal car ownership,” Portland Mayor Sam Adams said. “Peer-to-peer car sharing will keep money in Portlanders’ pockets, so I hope you’ll check it out and see whether it works for you.”
As part of the government initiative, Getaround will work closely with the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium (OTREC) to research the dynamics and impacts of peer-to-peer car sharing, making Portland the test bed for peer-to-peer car sharing nationwide.

The Portland State University program began on Jan. 1, 2012 to coincide with the enactment of Oregon HB 3149, the landmark legislation enabling personal vehicle sharing in Oregon.

“Since our inception, Getaround has viewed the city of Portland, Ore. as a perfect place for our service. Residents here have a reputation for being early adopters of innovative ways to solve transportation problems in the U.S., including traffic and pollution,” said Getaround co-founder and CEO Sam Zaid. “We look forward to bringing the Getaround experience to Oregon to reduce car overpopulation while empowering people to turn a costly asset — which on average sits idle 22 hours per day — into something that can generate sustained revenue.”

Getaround gives owners total freedom over their vehicle’s pricing, availability and selection of renters. Additionally, the Getaround Carkit and iPhone app together make it easy for members to conduct entire transactions using only their smartphone. The service provides protection through insurance carrier Berkshire Hathaway.