Car-sharing

Overview

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Car-sharing is part of the County’s Master Transportation Plan and supports the 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.

More information on car-sharing in Arlington can be found on the Commuter Page.


Regulation

In December 2016, the County Board authorized a new ordinance related to car-sharing (Chapter 14.2 of the Arlington County Code), ensuring a competitive procurement of car-share services, and establishing permits, fees and enforcement procedures for authorized car-share vehicles.

Based on this ordinance, the County Manager and staff established programs for two types of car-share service in Arlington’s public right of way:

  1. Reserved-space car-share
  2. Free-floating car-share

Reserved-Space Car-Share Program

In this program, trips start and end in locations reserved exclusively for car-sharing. Currently, one reserved-space service operates in Arlington – Zipcar.

Carshare-Reserved-Space-Signage-130x372.png Zipcar spaces are identified with new reserved car-share parking signs (see image to the right). For any issues with enforcement, call 703-558-2222.

The County awarded ZipCar with the reserved-space car-share contract on June 14, 2018. Visit eVA for details on the procurement.

The program allows Arlington County staff to make adjustments to the scope of work on an annual basis, if necessary, using ongoing data analysis and resident feedback. Contact staff at carsharing@arlingtonva.us to share your feedback throughout the program’s implementation.

Program summary

  • Number of contractors: 1 (Zipcar)
  • Fees: The program requires contractors to bid on spaces, which will determine the space fee in residential and metered zones. The minimum bid price differs depending on the area.
  • The program allows residents to provide feedback on individual reserved-space locations, via the interactive map, throughout the contract period.

Comment on a reserved-space car-share parking station

We are seeking feedback on the placement of reserved-space car-share parking stations in Arlington. Provide your opinion on a current location using the following link:


Free-Floating Car-Share Program

In this system, trips start and end in different locations throughout Arlington County and the District of Columbia. Free-floating car-share has been a part of Arlington’s mobility options since 2015.

Program summary:

  • Number of contractors: 0 (Free2Move ceased operations in Arlington on Sept. 30, 2021)
  • Initial maximum fleet allowed per contractor – up to 100 vehicles
    • Throughout the contract period, contractors may be allowed, upon approval of Arlington County, to increase their fleet size in increments of up to 50 vehicles, with their total fleet size not to exceed 166 vehicles.
  • Fees: The contractors will pay for access to curb space in residential and metered zones. The program requires the purchase of a car-share parking sticker to be paid by authorized car-share contractors. The sticker shows authorization of a car-share vehicle to park at a meter without payment at the time of parking and in residential parking permit zones without displaying a zone specific permit.

This program allows County staff to make adjustments to the scope of work on an annual basis, if necessary, using ongoing data analysis and resident feedback. For information on the 2019 Invitation to Bid, visit eVA.

Contact staff at carsharing@arlingtonva.us to share your feedback throughout the program’s implementation.


Cost Analysis: Car-Share vs. Private Car Ownership

While the County moves forward with the design of a free-floating and reserved-space car-share program, potential impacts on the community and household level need to be evaluated to guide County staff and residents’ decision-making processes. As a first step, Arlington County staff analyzed potential costs associated with private vehicle ownership and car-share usage on a household level.

Car-sharing, in general, provides some of the benefits of private vehicle ownership but without the upfront costs of owning a private vehicle. However, the costs associated with either using car-share or owning a private vehicle differ greatly and depend, amongst others, on the type of vehicle owned or car-share service used, as well as on the average vehicle miles traveled (VMT) per year. To provide some insights into potential household level costs, Arlington County staff analyzed and compared different car ownership and car-share usage scenarios specific to Arlington.

Our analysis showed, as described in the summary report and cost table, that:

  • Under 2,000 VMT annually, car-share appears the most economically efficient on a household level.
  • Over 6,000 VMT annually, car ownership is, in almost all cases, economically more efficient than car-share.
  • Car-share services are best used as regular first-last-mile connectors and for infrequent trip taking.
  • Arlington residents owning more than one vehicle or considering buying their first vehicle are most likely to realize considerable savings by using car-share.