Transportation Apps and Vehicle-Sharing Tools that Are Giving More Americans the Freedom to Drive Less

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on December 2, 2013

A New Way to Go The Transportation Apps and Vehicle-Sharing Tools that Are Giving More Americans the Freedom to Drive Less. U.S. PIRG Education Fund Frontier Group, Tony Dutzik and Travis Madsen, Frontier Group, Phineas Baxandall, Ph.D. . U.S. PIRG Education Fund. Fall 2013. Among the findings cited in the report:

  • Public transit enhancements - A majority of U.S. transit systems make scheduling publicly available for developers to produce smartphone apps to help riders navigate systems. Smartphone-based tools enable riders to find the best route and track the progress of trains and buses in real time.
  • Bikesharing - More than 30 cities now have programs where subscribers can access bikes by the minute or by subscription at kiosks located on city streets. Approximately 40 percent of bikeshare members report reducing their driving, according to a survey of members of four bikeshare services.
  • Carsharing - Roundtrip carsharing services, such as Zipcar as well as newer one-way services such as car2go enable subscribers to access cars located in their neighborhoods, providing the mobility benefits of access to a car without having to bear the burden of owning one. As of 2012, more than 800,000 Americans were members of carsharing services. Each carsharing vehicle replaces nine to 13 privately-owned vehicles. The average carsharing participant reduces his or her driving by 27 to 56 percent while increasing ridership on transit and biking.
  • Ridesharing and taxi-like services - New peer-to-peer carsharing networks enable individuals to rent out their own unused vehicles to people looking for a car. Drivers with open seats in their cars can pair with other individuals who need a ride. Companies such as Lyft allow ordinary drivers to provide web-based taxi-like services during their spare time.
  • Young Americans have consistently been the first to adopt and test these new technologies and practices. As of September 2012, young adults were six times more likely to have a smartphone than their grandparents’ generation, and twice as likely as Americans 50 to 64 years of age.”

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