When it comes to transportation, people want options. Everywhere I go, I hear the same message. Many Americans love their cars, but still prefer to ride transit for certain trips. Others are committed transit riders, but keep a car around for when they need to get somewhere that lacks transit access. Still others simply can't afford to own a car, but like the freedom cars offer.
One innovative way of getting around urban and suburban areas that allows people to save money while reducing emissions and congestion is car sharing. It's a phenomenon that's really gaining steam across the country.
And last Wednesday, one of the pioneers in this service, City CarShare in San Francisco, celebrated its 10th anniversary. City CarShare was launched in 2001 by a group of Bay Area transportation activists, with the help of several local nonprofits and the cities of San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley. These folks had the vision to create a service that was so convenient, affordable, and reliable that people wouldn’t even need to own a car.
City CarShare also got a boost from DOT through the Federal Highway Administration's Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement program.
I’ve been pleased to see a number of car sharing – and bike sharing – programs enjoy success in cities and suburbs across America. These programs provide flexible, economical transportation options for folks who can't or don't want to own a car.
And that's why Congress chose to support these projects under our current surface transportation program. In fact, car sharing isn’t the only innovative transportation service we support in the Bay Area. SFpark, funded in part by the FHWA, provides real-time information on parking availability and pricing in San Francisco before you leave home.
It’s just another way that DOT is helping Americans get where they're going.