Imagining the Car-Less City

Crowded infrastructure, murky traffic and billowing clouds of pollution. These are all issues that the modern city dweller has come to expect when they walk outside their front door. But what if there was a way to change this side effect of urban life? What if, instead of focusing on drivable cities, urban planners and city officials decided to do something drastic? Could a car share community become the standard in a city built with the intention of completely eliminating personal transportation?

That’s right, we’re talking about the creation of a car-less city. The idea of banning, or at least reducing, the use of personal automobiles and promoting more environmentally friendly and efficient modes of transportation might seem a bit extreme, but not when you consider how many people already subscribe to a car share community. Countless studies and reports have made it clear: our love affair with the automobile is no longer a defining aspect of our lives. Working towards a car-less community is thus the natural progression… one that many major city centers are already eagerly exploring.

Car-Free Communities Already Exist

While most of our car share community members have grown up surrounded by personal transportation, it’s worth noting that there are already a handful of car-less communities in operation around the world. Examples include Michigan’s Mackinac Island, Sark Island in the UK and even Venice. While typically small and tourist-focused, these experiments in alternative transportation offer larger centers a unique perspective on connectivity and planning, opening the door to new, exploratory urban advances in places like Paris, Hamburg and yes, even right here in NYC.

A Worldwide Shift

So just which cities are making an effort to extinguish personal vehicle ownership in favor of more environmentally-friendly options, like car share communities? Here’s a quick rundown of three international approaches:

Hamburg, Germany

When it comes to a car-loving country, one doesn’t have to look much further than the Germany and it’s high-speed autobahn. And yet, the country’s second-largest city is actively pursuing ways to eliminate cars by the year 2034. The concept, which is named the Green Network Plan, aims to expand public transportation and increase the number of pedestrian and cycling routes. What’s more, the plan clearly calls for a steady phase out of automobiles from the city’s center.

Paris, France

Paris has toyed with the idea of banning some, but not all, automobiles for quite some time. One approach includes putting a restriction on the use of vehicles powered by traditional internal combustion engines, while encouraging electric- and hydrogen-powered alternatives.

Recently, the French government attempted to institute a controversial law banning half the traffic from Parisian streets. The law, which limited motorists based on their license plate numbers, was instituted after five straight days of dangerous smog was recorded over the capital. As part of the ban, 700 police officers took to the streets on Monday March 17th, ticketing any vehicle bearing an even numbered plate. The ban was lifted at 12 midnight on the 17th after the ecology minister, Philippe Martin, declared that the experiment had been successful at reducing the pollution levels.

Chengdu Tianfu District Great City, China

Designed by Chicago-based architects, the Chengdu Tianfu District Great City is a self-sustainable satellite city designed specifically to avoid the high energy consumption and carbon emissions commonly associated with suburban sprawl. While still in its conceptual phases, the architects behind Chengdu Tianfu say that it will take just eight years to build, and once completed will have the ability to house roughly 30,000 families or roughly 80,000 people.

The secret behind the city’s design? According to the aerial blueprint, the distances between any two points in the city is no more than a 15 minute walk.

New York City’s Approach to Congestion

As a car share community member, you’re no stranger to New York City traffic congestion. In fact, you likely battle with it every time you get behind the wheel of one of our vehicles. Which is why, back in 2007, Mayor Bloomberg set about finding ways to limit traffic and pollution in the city. His plan? A proposal that would result in a special fee for vehicles traveling into the or within the Manhattan central business district. Proposed as part of the city’s environmental sustainability plan, entitled PlaNYC 2030: A Greener, Greater New York the proposal would have been the first such fee scheme enacted in the United States. After much debate, the proposal was struck down.

Even so, Mayor Bloomberg was successful in implementing a number of roadway improvements, including pedestrian-only plazas in key areas of congestion (we’re looking at you, Times Square).  Only time will tell if Mayor de Blasio will continue with similar improvements.

Could NYC ever be an entirely car-free city? Perhaps. But until that day comes, do your part to help limit traffic congestion and pollution in our beautiful city. Become a part of our Carpingo car share community today.

Car Sharing and its Impact on Car Sales

You can’t have supply without demand.

Unfortunately, that’s spelling disaster for many foreign and domestic car manufacturers. According to a report from the consulting firm Alix Partners, for each and every vehicle in a car sharing program, car manufactures are losing 32 vehicle sales.

As we’ve long suspected here at our Brooklyn car share, communal vehicle usage isn’t just on the rise – it’s changing the very fabric of our commuting culture.  (more…)

Accessibility: The New Marker of Urban Mobility

Frustrated by your daily commute? Tired of finding yourself trapped in traffic with nowhere to go? Well, you’re not alone. Every year, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute releases an Urban Mobility Report that measures congestion on the nation’s top roads. Based on data from transponders on millions of moving vehicles, the rankings confirm year in and year out that commuting in New York is no laughing matter.

Landing firmly in the number four spot, New York’s congestion rankings were bested only by Washington D.C., Los Angeles/Long Beach/ Santa Ana, and the San Francisco/Oakland area.

But is this report really as useful as it claims to be? Designed to report on the central cost of mobility – the price of sitting in traffic – the Texas A&M study neglects to look at the flipside of the coin: the value commuters get from various transportation networks. (more…)

What’s Next For the Sharing Economy?

It goes without saying that 2013 was the year of sharing. From co-working spaces to Brooklyn car share memberships, 2013 was the year people reassessed their need for worldly possessions and began the shift to more collaborative and communal living approaches.

Over the past year, the sharing economy has grown dramatically thanks in part to a revolution in digital infrastructure and an increase in peer-to-peer interaction. What’s more, there is a growing number of people all over the world who are dedicated living smarter – citizens and communities are really starting to respond to things like knowledge and resource sharing, collaborative business models and environmental policies. (more…)

Millennials Don’t Care About Cars

Whether you blame it on the economy, the environment, finances or even Facebook, one thing has become very clear over the past few years: young people don’t view driving in the same way as previous generations. Whatever way you choose to slice it, the twenty-somethings of today just aren’t interested in horsepower or hood ornaments. What was once a marker of status and sophistication, the personal vehicle is now seen almost as a nuisance rather than a nicety. (more…)

Policies for Sharable Cities

Cities are the epicenter of, well, everything. Vibrant communities, ongoing entertainment, exciting innovations – cities are where people gather, exchange ideas, and create change. In a city you’re surrounded by people, possibility, and potential.

And that’s just the beginning. (more…)

Car Share Happenings and thoughts for New York City and Car Share

Last week in Washington DC there was a gathering of many stakeholders involved in the entire car share industry and the related tangents of the industry. The entire concept of sharing has expanded in the car rental industry. The car share concept of hourly rent a car where customers rent the car they want for a period of time they want rather visit the traditional rent a car counter as in the past has continued to evolve.

Study after study, survey after survey has shown that the younger generation, with those defined in the younger generation creeping up each year, would rather not own a car preferring to “share” or rent a car on as needed basis through the various car share companies which have sprung across the nation and the world. To date, most of the car share companies are affiliated or owned by the major, national car rental companies with the exception of Carpingo based here in Brooklyn and Queens of New York City which is locally owned and affiliated with local car rental company Allcar Rent A Car which has served New York City residents for 35 years since its start in a Brooklyn Exxon gas station in the early 70’s.
(more…)

Keep it Clean: Tips for Cleaning Up After Using a Brooklyn Car Share Vehicle

When it comes to keeping things clean at Carpingo, we don’t shy away from asking for help. In fact, our car share Rules of the Road revolve around respect: respect for other members and respect for our vehicles. Our Carpingo members depend on one another to keep our vehicles safe, clean and in great working condition.

That being said, we understand that it can be tough to keep your Brooklyn car share vehicle clean, especially when you’re traveling with kids. If you’re concerned that your level of commuting cleanliness isn’t up to snuff, it could be time to shift your organization skills into high gear. (more…)

Accelerate Your Business with Our Brooklyn Car Share

Car sharing has been hailed as the transportation mode of the future, combining the convenience of a personal vehicle with the practicality and affordability of shared transit. Good for the environment, easy on the wallet and a beneficial solution for traffic congestion, car sharing has becoming and increasingly popular option for Brooklyn residents of all ages and backgrounds. What’s more, it’s starting to become a foundational aspect of many business ventures. Whether it’s a perk for working at a specific company or an alternative to a traditional fleet system, car share programs provide employees with tons of great benefits.

Considering making the change to a corporate Brooklyn car share model come 2014? Here are just a few of the benefits that you and your employees will enjoy thanks to our carmmunity.  (more…)

Car Sharing Comes to Vegas

Vegas has long been known as the land of risk and excess. So when Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh announced that he would be investing nearly $350 million into an ambitious redevelopment of Sin City, many were surprised to see that an economical, environmentally friendly car share program would be included. What does the city of decadence and discarded dreams want with an affordable alternative to personal transportation?

Lots, according to the man behind the largest online shoe retailer in the world.

By giving residents and travelers access to manifold transportation options, Hsieh hopes to revolutionize the way people get around in the nation’s center for entertainment. The experiment, which will see a complete overhaul of the city’s 1.5-square-mile commercial center is called the Downtown Project. Focused on attracting technologists and artists to an area overwhelmed by decaying parking lots, dirty bars and vacant buildings, the for-profit venture hopes to breathe a little life into Death Valley. (more…)