Cambridge Won’t Reach Goals to Curb Car Ownership
Cambridge, Massachusetts, set a goal in 2014 to lower the level of car ownership by residents. The target was a decrease of 15 percent from the 1990 level, to about 0.8 cars per household, by 2020. Adam Vaccaro reports that ownership has decreased, but by less than half of the original target.
While the ownership level is down, the number of cars owned by residents has increased by 6.5 percent since 2014 and the population has also grown. "Even though much of the construction in Cambridge and other cities is concentrated near train and bus lines, the figures highlight that more people almost always means more cars," says Vaccaro.
To decrease car ownership, the city focused on improving biking and transit infrastructure. Some city officials would also like to follow the lead of Minneapolis and San Francisco with a ban on minimum parking requirements for new developments.
The decrease in Cambridge is still a contrast to neighboring Boston where household car ownership has increased by 7 percent since 1990. But Boston officials argue that the focus should be on miles driven rather than ownership rates.
Based on that measure, the situation in Cambridge looks even better. "Cambridge already boasts the lowest average number of miles driven per household in Massachusetts: fewer than 19 miles a day in 2014, according to data from the regional council," notes Vaccaro.