Archive for the ‘green transportation’ Category

I-GO begins suburban expansion

July 14, 2009

We have officially kicked off our suburban expansion program with the addition of two new cars in Oak Park and Evanston. We also added two new cars in Chicago: one in Streeterville and one in Pilsen. Three of these four cars are brand spankin’ new 2010 Honda Insights. Haven’t seen one yet? Make sure to check it out!

Evanston: 1800 Maple Ave
2010 Red Honda Insight; Car #4427

Are these convenient locations for you? Post below and make your opinion heard!

Stay on the lookout for more I-GO cars in Skokie, Oak Park, and Evanston as we continue the first phase of suburban expansion.

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German suburb finds car-free life quite carefree

May 13, 2009

Have you ever heard of Vauban, a small suburb in Germany? I hadn’t until recently, but after reading an article in yesterday’s New York Times“In German Suburb, Life Goes On Without Cars”—I’m ready to pack my bags and hop on the next plane there.

Vauban, completed in 2006, sits on the outskirts of Freiburg, near the French and Swiss borders. Street parking, driveways and home garages are generally forbidden, and Vauban’s streets are completely car-free, except for the main thoroughfare and a few streets on the outskirts of the suburb.

You may be asking yourself, How is this working out for the 5,500 residents of Vauban? Quite well, it seems. From the article:

The town is long and relatively narrow, so that the tram into Freiburg is an easy walk from every home. Stores, restaurants, banks and schools are more interspersed among homes than they are in a typical suburb. Most residents…have carts that they haul behind bicycles for shopping trips or children’s play dates. For trips to stores like IKEA or the ski slopes, families buy cars together or use communal cars rented out by Vauban’s car-sharing club.

Moreover, parents in Vauban rave about the safety that goes along with having no cars on the streets. Children can run free without their parents fearing for their safety as they would if their kids were playing on a busy street corner. Check out this interesting slideshow of Vauban.

Vauban is part of a growing suburban trend many are referring to as “smart planning.” In the U.S., the EPA is beginning to promote “car reduced” communities and experts expect public transport serving suburbs to play a much larger role in a new six-year federal transportation bill to be approved this year. Currently, most zoning laws in the U.S. still require two parking spaces per residential unit. Hopefully, Vauban’s success will lead to many more car-reduced cities and suburbs.

City of Winnipeg requires car sharing program added to condo development

May 5, 2009


Car Sharing has become the key to success for a condo development currently under way in Winnipeg, Canada. In fact, the City of Winnipeg is insisting that Stonebridge Development Corp. Ltd. incorporate a car sharing program into the development, something that has never before been required in Winnipeg, and Stonebridge Development has agreed.

Michael Robinson, a senior city planner, has said that if this car sharing proposal is successful, more will likely follow. Robinson also noted that the incorporation of car sharing programs into condo developments has already happened in Vancouver, Canada and Edinburgh, Scotland. It’s clear to see which side of the fence the city of Winnipeg falls on in regards to the growing debate on owning vs. sharing a vehicle! Hopefully, this will soon become the trend rather than an exception.

Sharing vs. Owning: The effects of car sharing

May 4, 2009


Ian Sacs, of Planetizen, recently reported on the effects of car sharing versus car ownership, and what do you know: the outcomes all seem to have positive ramifications! According to Sacs, “Surveys of members, data from existing programs, and empirical evidence from several developments have shown that when a car share vehicle is available in a convenient location, and usually combined with transit access, a significant number of people make a decision that it is no longer necessary to own a car.” He goes on to conclude that the ratio of car sharing vehicles to households that voluntarily give up a personal car is roughly six to 23. However, Sacs is quick to note that as car sharing becomes more widespread, this ratio could double.

Moreover, adding car sharing vehicles to a development can significantly reduce demand for parking and, in turn, reduce construction costs. Although, Sacs also points out that simply “sprinkling car share vehicles nearby or even on-site is typically not enough to realize an appreciable reduction in private vehicle ownership. Rather, the developer must market car sharing as a feature” and include incentives to join—such as reduced membership costs, driving credits and so forth.

One of the less studied, yet equally important, effects of car sharing versus car ownership is the effect it has on the total number of trips a person takes each year. If you own your own car, the more you drive it, the more value you get out of it. Whereas when sharing a car, and paying per use, you are more likely to consider the true cost of taking a car versus public transportation, biking or walking.

While Sacs does not ignore the fact that car sharing is currently only found in, and seems to be most applicable in, urban areas, he does appear hopeful for expansion of the industry into suburban areas as well. To illustrate this point, he highlights the number of suburban families that own a second or third car that they rarely use and insists that adding a car sharing vehicle in these suburban areas may “significantly reduce the total number of vehicles needed in that community.”

Has the availability of car sharing in Chicago convinced you to ditch your wheels? To drive less? Let us know your car sharing experience!

Scotland hopes to lead the drive towards all-electric vehicles

April 29, 2009


The city of Glasgow is striving to become ‘Electric Motor City’ under an ambitious $250 million dollar plan to create, encourage and spread sustainable transportation options throughout Scotland. Glasgow has been selected as one of five urban areas in the UK to pilot the use of electric vehicles over the next two years. A plan to test 30 electric vehicles in Glasgow has just been given the go-ahead and the government also plans to give drivers who buy new all-electric vehicles a substantial tax break.

Electric vehicles are powered by battery-driven motors and therefore produce none of the polluting emissions that traditional cars produce. They also operate much more quietly than traditional vehicles. However, their range is limited without being recharged.

Environmental and transportation groups have applauded the plan, although they highlight the importance of using renewable and clean energy sources for the charging of the vehicles. Duncan McLaren, chief executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland, warns against using coal or nuclear sources of energy, and instead argues that, “We can use renewable power from the wind and tides.” Seeing as Irfan Rabbani, executive member for the environment, has publicly announced the City Council’s goal to make Glasgow “one of the most sustainable cities in Europe,” this just may happen!

Want to check out an all-electric car for yourself? Check out this video on the new Chevy Volt, which will debut to the public in 2010.

Bike Sharing

April 26, 2009

“The fact is, we already have a zero-emission, efficient, great way to get around and it’s called the bicycle and we just need to start providing for it,”
-Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives

You’ve heard of car sharing but have you heard of bike sharing? There are already successful bike sharing programs in Paris, Barcelona, London, Stockholm, Milan, Berlin, Munich, Vienna & Copenhagen- to name just a few. Hopefully it is only a matter of time before bike sharing starts spreading throughout the U.S. as well!

Below you can listen to a very interesting interview on last Friday’s Brian Lehrer Show. Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives, discusses the possibility of introducing a bike sharing program in New York City.

Would you utilize a bike sharing service in Chicago? If not, why not? What would need to change in order to get you biking?

The public likes public transportation!

March 9, 2009


Americans took 10.7 billion trips on public transportation in 2008! This is a 4% increase over 2007 levels and also marks the highest level of ridership in 52 years, according to a report released by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).

Ridership on all modes of public transportation increased in every quarter for the second year in a row. Light rail had the highest increase in annual ridership, growing by 8.3% in 2008, followed by commuter rail (4.7%), bus service (3.9%) and heavy rail (3.5%). Streetcars and trolleys are considered ‘light rail’, while subways are categorized as ‘heavily rail’.

Not only are more people taking public transportation, they are also driving less: Total vehicle miles traveled in the U.S. declined by 3.6% from 2007 levels. According to the APTA report, “This ridership record continues a long-term trend of ridership growth. Public transportation use is up 38% since 1995, a figure that is almost triple the growth rate of the population”. Not too shabby, huh?

Eco-friendly bamboo bikes

March 8, 2009

As car sales continue to fall and gas prices remain above the $2/gallon mark, it seems like more and more people are taking up a common childhood activity – biking. Biking is a great way to get around the city- you don’t have to deal with parking, gas, tickets, insurance, or traffic – AND you get some exercise along the way!

If you’re thinking about buying a bike, check out the bamboo bikes from Calfee Design. Calfee Design claims that their bamboo bikes have the lowest carbon footprint of any bike on the market today. Moreover, Calfee Bamboo bikes have won awards for Best Road Bike, Best Off-Road Bike and Peoples’ Choice Award at the American Handmade Bicycle Show.

Shredded Tweet, Good to Eat?

February 12, 2009

Just created a Twitter profile for I-GO recently: Check it out at http://twitter.com/igocarsharing if you’re so inclined. Wondering if it’s worth our while, though… I mean, does anyone really care what’s going through my head every five minutes? And is it possible to convey all the facets of sustainable, alternative transportation in fragmentary bursts of electronic text? Me thinks ’tis folly, but I have been able to respond to a few folks interested in I-GO, both from a business and customer POV.

Trick or Tweet? I dunno. You tell me. But feel free to chirp away at us on our Twitter feed: igocarsharing.

Above image from Twitter.com