Press Release #21-016
Thursday, April 22, 2021
Contact: Scott Gastel/Alana Morales (212) 839-4850
Earth Day: Declaring On-Street Carshare "An Unqualified Success," DOT Announces Permanent Expansion of Pilot
Results of pilot begun in 2018 illustrate that having carshare vehicles conveniently located in on-street reserved spots and within municipal lots helped reduce car use and emissions – and also met equity goals; carshare vehicles that were based in previously underserved areas outside Manhattan were some of the most heavily used
NEW YORK – The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) today announced that the New York City pilot to provide street and municipal-lot parking for carshare had been successful, and that the program would be made permanent. At the site of two on-street car share spaces in Brooklyn, DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman announced the program would expand from 14 pilot zones to neighborhoods citywide, enabling carshare companies to propose new spaces in areas now underserved by car share, with the anticipation that hundreds of new spaces will be created beyond the pilot’s original 285.
“Almost three years ago, this Administration predicted that New Yorkers would come to embrace the cleaner and greener alternative that more convenient carshare offers – and 150,000 rides later, the unqualified success of our pilot proved us right,” said DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman. “I give special thanks to the City Council for their leadership around this program – and give great credit to the DOT team that has so carefully constructed a program that New Yorkers have really embraced. As we expand even further this year, we will want to hear from more communities that want this great transportation option.”
Carsharing is a service that gives members access to an automobile for short-term use ― usually by the hour, or day ― at a cost that includes gas and insurance. With cars parked in publicly-accessible neighborhood locations, members can reserve, and then just walk up to a car and drive away, returning later to the same reserved spot. The pilot expanded carshare parking, previously limited to private garages, to more visible public locations and to less wealthy areas.
DOT today released its final report on the pilot, which summarizes the pilot’s success (link), mandated by Local Laws 47 & 50 of 2017, sponsored by Councilmember Mark Levine. DOT also publicly released the results of academic research from faculty at University of California-Berkeley (link), which incorporated driver surveys that also informed DOT’s conclusions.
Carshare Pilot Results
Among the pilot’s major results:
- Carshare users took about 160,000 trips total during the pilot, with an average of 24 trips per month per space. Each month, an average of 17 unique carshare members used vehicles in each space.
- Using detailed customer surveys, researchers concluded that for every car shared within the city, four personal vehicles were either suppressed or sold; In the pilot, about 1,140 users, or 7% of program participants, either sold their cars or opted not to purchase a new one
- Annual Vehicles Miles Traveled (VMT) were reduced by about 38.7 million miles and produced an annual net reduction of ~12,000 metric tons in greenhouse gases per year.
- Comparing their pre-carshare behavior, carshare users in the pilot drove fewer miles (7% reduction) and reduced greenhouse gas emissions (6% reduction)
- The pilot dramatically increased diversity: Black/Latino membership doubled to about 30% of total carshare users.
- After the first year of the pilot, unauthorized use of on-street carshare parking spaces declined dramatically, making the program much more reliable for customers.
- The program brought carshare to 14 zones citywide, with low- and moderate-income neighborhoods targeted by the pilot including Inwood, Washington Heights, Harlem, Parkchester, Red Hook, Jamaica, and the Rockaways. Many of these neighborhoods saw the highest rates of overall use during the pilot.
Permanent Carshare Program
To expand carshare and to make the program permanent, DOT has announced the following steps:
- The agency will promulgate rules to make the program permanent. Among the major proposed rule changes, companies will for the first time be charged an annual fee of up to $500 for each pair of parking spots they use in the program. Previously, participants in the pilot had only paid a single nominal $765 fee to participate.
- Companies will propose specific parking spots to DOT. The agency will review these based on siting guidelines—for example, spots must be located outside of areas with significant off-street parking. DOT will evaluate these space requests with feedback from the local community.
- To ensure continued equity, 20% of all spaces must be located in low and moderate-income neighborhoods and companies must provide a new discount for low-income users.
- Participating companies will be required to continue offering discounts to NYCHA residents and IDNYC cardholders.
“At Zipcar, we’re committed to making cities better places to live and that starts with reducing a reliance on personal cars,” said Tracey Zhen, President of Zipcar. “Thanks to the support of Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Gutman, we’re able to provide more New Yorkers across the City with access to a vehicle, without the burden of car ownership. We’re grateful for the City’s thoughtful study during our successful three-year pilot program, and are pleased to see more independent research validate that Zipcar’s car sharing model supports the City’s goals of improving sustainability and reducing ownership. We also thank Council Member Levine for his early, strong support of this pilot program on the City Council. We look forward to continuing this important partnership.”
"The facts are in! Carsharing means fewer vehicles on the road, freed-up space on the streets, and less pollution in our air," said Ben Furnas, Director of the Mayor's Office of Sustainability. "By letting more New Yorkers share their vehicles, New York is fighting climate change and accelerating towards a cleaner healthier, more livable city. Congratulations to the Department of Transportation on the success and growth of this terrific program."
“We commend the Department of Transportation for expanding carshare access through this initiative,” said NYCHA Chair & CEO Greg Russ. “NYCHA’s own carshare efforts have shown tremendous promise in creating opportunities for our residents to utilize this efficient mode of transportation and we are excited to see it continue growing citywide.”
“Carshare programs have time and again proven to reduce the need to own a car, reduce greenhouse gases, and drive down vehicle miles traveled,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “Making this program permanent will ensure that New York City benefits from these climate and quality of life improvements, and I urge DOT to ensure that the benefits of this program reach every neighborhood of the five boroughs.”
"Especially on Earth Day, I am so pleased that the City’s carshare pilot has helped reduce car use and emissions and achieved its equity goals,” said Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon. “As we tackle the climate crisis, we must be persistent about environmentally-friendly transit options and I’m glad to see the expansion of this promising program. Congratulations to the New York City Department of Transportation on these efforts.”
"To combat the congestion crisis in our city, we must provide New Yorkers with as many transit choices as possible. New York is home to more than 1.5 million private cars -- and until now people who needed a car for occasional trips have had too few alternative transit options," said Council Member Mark Levine, Chair of the Health Committee. "We now know, based on the pilot program, that for every car shared within the city, four personal vehicles were either suppressed or sold. Making this program permanent will lead to a major reduction in car-ownership, provide additional options in underserved communities, and reduce congestion in our city."
“We have less than 10 years to save the Earth before the damages become irreversible. As a City, we need to do more to reduce our carbon footprint and reduce the number of vehicles on our streets. I am happy to hear that the Carsharing pilot program was a success, I hope we’re able to continue expanding this program across the City. There is one particular area that I would like to continue working with the private sector to resolve related to the affordability of carsharing. We need to make sure that these vehicles are affordable to low-income New Yorkers, this cannot only be a privilege for the few,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chairman of the Transportation Committee. “I look forward to continuing to work alongside DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman, my colleagues at the Council, and advocates to ensure we continue expanding on initiatives that will help make New York City a greener and a more sustainable City.”
"Clean transportation is integral to combating climate change,” said Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “By encouraging more families to use carshares rather than personal vehicles, this program is reducing vehicle miles traveled, decreasing pollution, improving air quality, and reducing congestion while prioritizing underserved communities. Thank you to the Department of Transportation and Councilman Levine for your leadership."
"Today's announcement is welcome news for many New Yorkers living in and traveling to places that lack sufficient transit access," said Liam Blank, spokesman for Tri-State Transportation Campaign. "We commend NYC DOT for making this program permanent, particularly as ridesharing plays an increasingly important role in our city's fight against climate change and paralyzing traffic congestion."
“We’re very happy to hear that the city’s carshare pilot will become a permanent program, and that New Yorkers will have another alternative for getting around without the huge financial burden inherent in car ownership,” said StreetsPAC Executive Eric McClure. “Carshare gives people a convenient option for when they really need a car, and as the pilot data shows, helps suppress private vehicle ownership and reduce driving, which is in everyone’s interest as we seek to become a greener and more sustainable city.”
"The results of the study found that the NYC DOT pilot program reduced net vehicle miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions in New York City and further reduced the need for personal vehicle ownership among members,” said Elliot Martin, Research and Development Engineer, UC- Berkeley Transportation Sustainability Research Center. “It was also found to expand access to carsharing for demographics that have been traditionally underrepresented within membership populations."
For more information on carshare in New York City, please visit nyc.gov/carshare.