DOT Announces Expansion of On-Street Carshare Program Following Successful Pilot

Signage for the new carshare spaces. Image Credit: NYC DOT.

On February 7, 2023, the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) announced an expansion of a citywide curbside carshare program following a successful five-year pilot program. Carsharing allows participating members to access a vehicle for short-term use by hour or day whose cost includes maintenance. The cars are parked in publicly accessible locations to allow users to reserve vehicles, walk up to the reserved vehicle and use it, and then return it to the same spot. The agency will install new signage for 80 new dedicated curbside parking spaces in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens for carshare services. 

Three carshare companies, Zipcar, Getaround, and Truqit, have been working with the city to provide their vehicles at the new locations. Site locations have been identified by the carshare companies based on knowledge of customer demand and usage. Selected sites must also conform with the agency’s criteria, including that the spaces will be in pairs at the corner of residential, unmetered blocks, that the spaces are within the first 40 feet before or after an intersection, that no back-in angle parking spaces are allowed, and that spaces must be on streets with alternate side parking and street cleaning no more than two times a week. At least 20 percent of spaces must be in Equity Zone areas, known as Tier 1 Priority Investment Areas within the New York City Streets Plan, a framework which outlines the city’s transportation goals from December 2021. 

The site locations for new spaces can be found on the agency’s website here. An updated map of all locations will be found here once all the spaces are installed. DOT will continue to do further outreach and work with community boards. 

The pilot program launched in 2018 with a goal of 300 carshare spaces in on-street parking and in DOT-managed lots. The initial program had 14 zones in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx, including neighborhoods like Inwood, Washington Heights, Harlem, Red Hook, Jamaica and Parkchester. 

During the pilot program, approximately 160,000 trips were taken with a average of 24 trips per month per rideshare space. An average of 17 unique users used vehicles in each space. Customer surveys were issued and found that for ever one rideshare vehicle in the city, four personal vehicles were either not purchased or sold. Approximately 1,140 users of the carshare program, or seven percent, sold their cars or opted to not purchase a new one during the pilot program. 

As a result of the pilot program, users drove fewer miles and reduced their greenhouse gas emissions compared to their pre-carshare behavior. The annual vehicle miles traveled (VMT) was reduced by approximately 38.7 million miles, which resulted in an annual reduction of 12,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases. 

DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez stated, “We now have the proof that convenient access to carshare frees New Yorkers from the burden of car ownership – while helping to fight climate change. Soon more New Yorkers will have access to a vehicle when required – no need to sign an expensive lease or to fret about finding a parking space. With thanks to the Mayor for his support, we are excited to build on the successes of our pilot, cutting down greenhouse gas emissions and vehicle miles traveled, while supporting efficient use of space at the curb. We encourage New Yorkers to give this great program a try!”

City Council Majority Whip and Chair of the Committee on Transportation and infrastructure Selvena N. Brooks-Powers stated, “Carshare options provide New Yorkers another degree of flexibility to meet their needs and get where they want to go. Short-term carshare access can reduce emissions and vehicle miles traveled citywide. I support New York City Department of Transportation’s efforts to expand this program, and I look forward to further investment in multi-modal transportation options for New Yorkers, especially in the City’s transit deserts.”

By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)



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