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Zipcar

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Vehicle Locations & Parking

Carsharing depends on creating a network of closely-spaced vehicles providing easy access to the greatest number

of people. At the present stage in the development of carsharing, this tends to be close-in urban neighborhoods and

downtown districts, particularly those with a mix of business and residential members. Some suburban areas,

particularly mixed-use and transit-oriented developments or businesses near light rail stations, are other potentially

promising carsharing locations, as discussed in the final section of this paper. Although census data does not

include all the desired indicators, a good indication of the promising areas can be derived by a simple analysis using

education and income levels and transit and bike commuting. Congested on-street parking is another indicator of

promising neighborhood for carsharing.

Parking may be in off-street or on-street spaces and should be in easy to find, well-lit areas. Spaces near sidewalks

are particularly desirable since the vehicle will be visible at least some of the time and it may be possible to install a

promotional sign and brochure holder. To provide the greatest convenience, vehicles should be about 1/4 to 1/2

miles apart.

Finding and leasing parking spaces in urban areas turns out to be a more difficult and time-consuming job than most

CSOs anticipate. Providing designated, reserved on-street parking spaces can be one of the important ways a local

government can support the growth of carsharing. Typically, such spaces are established under the same regulation

that enables a city to designate parking for other "classes of vehicles", such as taxicabs, movie or hotel zones. (If

there were several carsharing organizations in the same city, any of them could legally use any space designated

carsharing vehicles. In reality, competing services could easily establish a "gentleman's agreement" about the use of

such spaces.)

On-street spaces tend to attract more unauthorized parking by private individuals than off-street spaces unless they

are very clearly marked with clear indication that unauthorized vehicles may be towed. A blocked parking space,

whether on or off-street, causes serious inconvenience to the member attempting to return a vehicle, requiring an

emergency phone call and staff intervention to attempt to get the offending vehicle removed and the carsharing

vehicle back in its space. This can quickly cascade onto the subsequent drivers, who may be unable to find the

vehicle at the start of their trip.

One vehicle per location is typical but as the membership and usage grows, CSOs must analyze usage patterns to

determine whether to create new vehicle locations, which places more vehicles closer to more members, or to add

additional vehicles to an existing cluster. Vehicles placed within or adjacent to the existing network will serve the

greatest number members. Outlying or isolated

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