How the Sharing Economy is Saving Municipal Governments Millions

Alex Howard discusses how trends in collaborative consumption, in which people or organizations pool limited resources to more efficiently access tools or services, are moving from the private sector to government.

Howard discusses the broader trends in the "sharing economy", such as co-working, bike sharing, exchanging books and videos, or cohabiting hackerspaces and community garden spaces, that "suggest the way we work, play and learn is changing due to the impact of connection technologies and the Great Recession."

While the growth of these practices has been taking place in the private sector for quite some time, Howard points to the use of Zipcar by cities across the country (Boston, Chicago, Washington D.C.) as an example of the sharing economy's expansion into government entities, which is "enabling government to increase its efficacy and decrease its use of natural resources."

According to Howard, "After finally making inroads into cities, Zipcar is saving taxpayers real money in the public sector. Technology developed by the car-sharing startup is being used in 10 cities and municipalities in 2012. If data from a pilot with the United States General Services Agency fleet pans out, the technology could be also adopted across the sprawling federal agency's vehicles, saving tens of millions of dollars of operating expenses though smarter use of new technology."

Full Story: Carsharing saves U.S. city governments millions in operating costs

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