Why this Indicator is Important
Reducing individuals’ reliance on personal cars brings a wide range of social, economic, and environmental benefits, thereby contributing to the general well-being of citizens and to fostering a more just society. Reducing reliance on personal cars is, therefore, key to the health of citizens and cities alike. One way to do this (besides increasing active transportation infrastructure and public transit), is supporting car-sharing. Car-sharing is usually run by a private company, but can sometimes be run by the municipality. A car-share is a car rental service that allows people to use vehicles for short periods of time, often by the hour. It can be an economical and eco-friendly option for those who only need occasional access to a vehicle, and for those for whom public or active transit is not a feasible or convenient method of transport. Adding car sharing options to the mix fosters social justice by making sure that there are commuting options adapted to all sorts of needs and situations. To foster more car sharing, cities can adopt bylaws to allow car-sharing vehicles to be parked for extended periods of time, particularly in strategic locations. Montreal, for example, allows all car-sharing vehicles access to parking in residential areas in participating boroughs.1
Data Availability and Accessibility: 2/3
Data for this indicator is compiled from car-sharing companies’ websites and direct contact. Most companies offer a publicly available map of charging stations, though not necessarily the number. While municipalities generally have data on the number of registered shared vehicles licenses, this data is not made publicly available.
Note(s): Dataare from 2022. Sources are shared vehicle companies (websites and direct contact).
Again this year, Vancouver’s performance on this indicator considerably surpasses that of any other Canadian city. Part of this success can be attributed to the fact that Vancouver’s city bylaws allow for car-sharing vehicles to be parked in spaces that are otherwise reserved for residents or parking permit holders. Users can also park an actively- rented car-sharing vehicle at a parking metre for up to two hours, free of charge. By having adopted such bylaws, Vancouver has succeeded in making it easy and hassle-free to access car-share vehicles, and to park them as well. Creating this kind of positive user experience can effectively create a strong disincentive to owning a personal vehicle. Another factor that helps foster this successful and efficient car-sharing network is that Vancouver is Canada’s most densely populated city centre, meaning that the large fleet of car-sharing vehicles found in the city is concentrated in a relatively small surface area, thereby enhancing the accessibility of the vehicles.2
2. City of Vancouver, “Car-sharing, carpooling, and ride-sharing.” Accessed December 2022.