Car Sharing Goes Indy

Car sharing will continue to grow in cities, and may become as individual as couch hopping, thanks to technology that enables private car owners to rent their personal vehicles to other drivers, three transportation experts agreed Friday.
General Motors showed its confidence in the car sharing trend late last year when it signed a two-year agreement with the car-sharing startup RelayRides that will allow GM owners with OnStar to make their cars available to RelayRides members, who can unlock them using their cell phones.
"I see sharing growing in importance," Nick Pudar, vice president of Strategy and Business Development for OnStar, said Friday at Chicago's Techweek conference. But car sharing is more likely to flourish in urban areas where people and cars are clustered together than in rural areas where immediate access to vehicles will probably continue to mean owning them.
"It really depends upon the density of commerce and humanity in the cities," Pudar said. "The evolution of sharing is going to be geographically differentiated."
Economics will also push more people toward car sharing and public transit, predicted Marc Klein, vice president at Clean Energy Fuels Corp., a provider of natural gas fuel for transportation in North America. Many urban residents don't need vehicles or the insurance, parking, purchase, and maintenance costs that come with them.
"I think the economies of scale will make sharing more and more popular," Klein said.
Pudar and Klein spoke on a panel moderated by Gabe Klein, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Transportation, a former regional vice president for the ZipCar sharing company, and former director of the Washington D.C. Department of Transportation when it developed a bicycle sharing program.
Taxis were an early form of car sharing, Gabe Klein said, "But what's great about bicycle sharing is that it is a taxi, but it has no engine, and there's no fuel cost, and there's no need for fuel, and you're the driver."
The Chicago City Council approved a bike sharing program earlier this year.
Rahm’s Latest Accountability Plan: An App That Tracks City Services

Tip Jar: If you found value on this page, please consider tipping the author.