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.
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:
- Reserved-space car-share
- 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.
As of Aug. 1, 2018, Zipcar spaces are identified with new reserved car-share parking signs:
For any issues with enforcement, please call 703-558-2222.
On June 14, 2018, the County awarded ZipCar with the reserved-space car-share contract. Visit eVA for details on the procurement.
The program will allow Arlington County staff to make adjustments to the scope of work on an annual basis, if necessary, using ongoing data analysis and resident feedback. Feel free to contact staff at firstname.lastname@example.org and share your feedback throughout the program’s implementation.
- 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 will allow residents to provide feedback on individual reserved-space locations, via the interactive map, throughout the contract period.
Free-Floating Car-Share Program
In this system, trips start and end in different locations. Since 2015, car2go has been providing free-floating car-share service in Arlington as part of a demonstration study. Taking into consideration residents’ feedback and data gathered during the study, Arlington County designed a permanent free-floating car-share program.
The program will allow County staff to make adjustments to the scope of work on an annual basis, if necessary, using ongoing data analysis and resident feedback. Feel free to contact staff at email@example.com and share your feedback throughout the program’s implementation.
- Number of contractors: 2 (GIG Car Share, car2go)
- 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 250 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.
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.
- 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.