Data from a Los Angeles car share program showed its impact on underserved communities was ‘limited by its small footprint.’
A new report assesses the potential of the BlueLA car share program to improve transportation equity in Los Angeles. As Gersh Kuntzman explains in Streetsblog USA, the report notes that low-income residents gain improved transportation access only when programs are heavily subsidized and have broad coverage areas.
“There's no question that car-share has shown potential in helping urban areas reduce automobile ownership and lower vehicle miles traveled, as well as increasing walking and public transit use. But other studies have shown that urban car-share members are disproportionately white, even when vehicles are located in neighborhoods with many disadvantaged residents.”
The BlueLA program aimed to provide service in underserved areas and offer low rates, but the study notes that “during the study period, BlueLA stations ‘only served a small portion of the city of Los Angeles,’ the report said, reducing transportation access for people who don't own cars, but would have liked to have used BlueLA.”
Kuntzman gives examples from other cities that are working to expand access to car share services. “The Philadelphia Housing Authority has just inked a deal — thanks to a federal Housing and Urban Development job program grant — that will bring two Zipcars to each of four housing projects,” and New York City is providing public housing residents with free Zipcar memberships. City officials hope car share can improve mobility and help residents avoid the burdens of car ownership.
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This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.