By Kaye Ceille, President of Zipcar
Imagine a world with fewer cars and more people biking and walking to get to their destinations. Walking, biking, public transit, ride sharing, car sharing—all modes of transportation working together seamlessly to make it simpler, faster, greener, and less expensive to get around. Imagine more bike lanes, less congestion, and healthier lifestyles, all as a result of an improved urban mobility network.
At Zipcar, we’ve been working toward this future, with the goal of building a world in which car sharers outnumber car owners, for over 16 years. During that time, we’ve found that our nearly one million members share this same vision. They value access over ownership—and the freedom, convenience, and cost savings that comes with it.
If you live in a city, figuring out the best way to get around is already a part of your daily (maybe even hourly) life. With so many options from public transit to ride hailing to good old fashioned walking and biking, urbanites tend to make every transportation decision with ease, speed, cost, and in many cases, environmental impact in mind. Along the way, they’ve developed a savviness that comes from leveraging many different modes of transportation—and picking the right mode for each trip.
But how do we take this even further?
Cities nationwide are working to encourage this “multi-modal” behavior. Xerox’s integrated mobile apps in Denver and Los Angeles now make it possible for residents and visitors to make transportation choices based on cost, speed, and environmental impact in one easy-to-use app. Bike sharing programs are popping up across the country, making it even more convenient to commute or explore a city on two wheels and reduce environment impact. And many cities are partnering with car sharing and bike sharing to offer both services at public transit stations, presenting “first mile, last mile” solutions for users.
Plus, the significant response to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge further demonstrates that cities nationwide are committed to implementing integrated, smart mobility solutions that make it easier to get around—and we’ve pledged Zipcar’s support in making these proposals a reality.
Zipcar members already report biking nearly 20 percent more after joining Zipcar, and today, we are taking steps to make it easier and more convenient for our members to use our service in conjunction with other modes of transportation. We’ve partnered with bike share providers in many cities, including Chicago, Washington, D.C., Toronto, Philadelphia, New York, San Diego, Detroit, and Atlanta. We have partnerships with public transit agencies, including in Boston, Los Angeles, Portland, and Toronto. And we’ve added Yakima rack systems to select Zipcars, so members can get out of the city and enjoy their favorite outdoor activities.
But there’s still much more to be done. Improving walkability, extending bike lanes to create streets where bikes and cars can co-exist, improving reliability of public transit, increasing access to car and bike sharing—these are all steps we can begin to take together to make car-free and car-lite lifestyles possible in our cities.
I’m excited about the road ahead and Zipcar’s ability to lead the way in shaping a new era of mobility in our cities, defined by efficiency, convenience, and sustainability.
About the Author
Kaye Ceille is the President of Zipcar and a leader in transportation innovation.