County Board Authorizes Car-Sharing in Arlington

Published on December 13, 2016

  • Allows free-floating and reserved-space car-sharing

  • Multiple community benefits at no cost to the County

  • Car2go demonstration study extended for up to a year

The County Board today continued to expand travel options for Arlington residents, workers and visitors, voting to authorize car-sharing programs.

The Board's action authorizes the County Manager to move beyond pilot car-sharing programs and create a program that will include competitive procurement of car-share services, establish permits and fees, and develop enforcement procedures for authorized car-share vehicles.

"Arlington is all about giving people transportation options," said County Board Chair Libby Garvey. "Our community has Metro, a robust bus system, bikeshare and multi-use trails — and now forms of car-sharing will be a permanent part of the mix."

The Board voted 5-0 to authorize a car-sharing program and voted 5-0 to authorize an extension of the agreement with car2go for up to 12 months. To read the staff reports on these items, including the final car2go demonstration study, visit the County website. Scroll down to item number 20 on the agenda for the Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 Recessed County Board Meeting.

The new authority allows the Manager to establish two types of car-share service in Arlington's public right of way:

  1. Free-floating — where trips start and end in different locations, and

  2. Reserved-space — where trips start and end in locations reserved exclusively for car-sharing.

Several car-share services operate under pilot programs in Arlington today. Zipcar has been providing reserved-space service to the community since 2004. Enterprise Carshare entered the market in 2012 and has been providing their service in off-street locations.

Car2go demonstration study extended for up to a year

In a related action, the County Board authorized an extension of a point-to-point car-sharing demonstration study with car2go for up to an additional 12 months.

The initial year-long demonstration study, which examined a form of "free-floating" car-share, ended on Dec. 1, 2016. Based on the program's membership growth, the company's responsiveness to community feedback, user surveys, and the positive reception of cross-jurisdictional service with the District of Columbia, County staff recommended continuing the service with some modifications. The 12-month extension will allow staff to continue to learn from car2go's performance data and community feedback while developing a competitive procurement for this service, consistent with the County's new ordinance.

Community benefits at no cost to the County

Car-sharing is already part of the County's Master Transportation Plan and supports its goals of complementing and extending the reach of transit and other travel options such as biking and walking, alleviating parking and traffic congestion, reducing greenhouse gases and particulate emissions, reducing personal vehicle ownership and household transportation costs, and increasing travel convenience and accessibility.

Neither the ordinance nor the extension of the demonstration study will have a fiscal impact because fees paid by authorized car-share vendors for access to on-street space are intended to equal the County's costs of administering the programs.