Car Share Infographic Footnotes

 

6 Comments

  1. Catbus

    I’m surprised that Boston scored so low. Maybe it’s the sheer aggravation of driving ANYWHERE in ANY vehicle.

  2. Ari

    @Catbus: Two major fallacies with this infographic:

    1. They are counting each location as a “car share” but not each shared car. So cities that are denser and can support locations with multiple cars—which are more useful than single cars—score far lower than other cities. That’s how Austin sneaks in. Car2Go, which doesn’t have specific locations, is counted much higher than a CityCarShare or an I-Go or a Zipcar, which might have one location with ten or fifteen cars.

    2. For whatever reason, the Boston number leaves off Brookline, Cambridge, Somerville and other nearby cities and towns. (DC loses here, as well, by leaving off Arlington and Alexandria and other such cities.) In Cambridge, something like one in seven residents—15,000—are Zipcar members, Somerville has thousands more. These numbers would dramatically move Boston up the rankings. Good luck getting the exact numbers from Zipcar without some good data scraping (in the past, it was easier to scrape). They’re pretty proprietary.

  3. Walk Score

    Ari – That’s right, we are counting car share locations since it’s hard to get the data on the exact number of cars at each location. To provide apples to apples comparisons between cities, we use the official US census city boundaries.

  4. Uchena

    Walk Score – The sort of information that Ari is talking about really needs to be explicitly stated at the very beginning of the article accompanying this graphic. If the purpose of the graphic is to show a comparison of cities that are more amenable to car sharing than others, then this graphic is very erroneous. I’m no expert, but Austin and Portland really have no business being ranked above Boston (as I have spent much time in each of those cities and they are not even in the same ballpark with respect to Car Sharing)

    (3) Very Necessary Items for Improvement for this Comparison

    1. It is not difficult to lump cities sharing the same locale together. This is done all of the time and also based on census data. Just about every major metropolis shares denizen. In addition most comparisons of this type do include neighboring cities for a better understanding on how the region specifically works

    2. I know it is difficult to get number of cars vs number of car sharing locations, but that really is a big deal. Very many cities these days (including places like Boston and San Francisco) are putting in lots of incentives (almost mandating) to adding at least a few car sharing spots in new development. These spots can accumulate quite a bit when a building is heading for a LEED certification. There are many lots in Boston and Cambridge particularly that have at least 10, 15 vehicles (being near universities). This will significantly help regions like SF, Boston, and DC. (Also it would help in a comparison of number of cars/population which should be included as weighted item in the rankings)

    3. It’s great that you are bringing this information to the forefront. I love WalkScore and all that its about. I was using it back in the early 2000’s when it was rudimentary at best. But all of the upgrades have made it a better system. This should really be applied to here as well as the ability to have only one or no cars in a household really speaks to the ideals of your website.

  5. Ari’s comments are right now. Here are some more questions:

    Why use cost data from Getaround when Zipcar is by far the dominant provider?

    And, excuse me, $9859 a year for car ownership? Not sure where that number is coming from on the 2012 AAA cost of ownership. In any case, it appears to be for a larger size vehicle than is typical in carsharing fleets, being driven many more miles per year than any carsharing member would likely be driving and assumes the buyer is financing the vehicle Finally, the AAA numbers, are about buying a new car, a comparison I doubt very few people considering carsharing are making.

    I’m not sure what this statement means: “Ranking is based on most car share locations per city/neighborhood.” Does that mean a city with only a lots of neighborhoods with a few carsharig locations will score higher than one with fewer neighborhoods, even though they may be very well supplied with vehicles?

    Finally, counting vehicles from Getaround or Relayrides 1 to 1 with services like Zipcar/I-Go, City Carshare, P2P vehicles are only available when the owner wants to rent them out and a big percentage of them require meeting the owner to exchange the keys (not very convenient), so they’re hardly comparable whose vehicles are available 24 hours a day.

  6. mike

    Also, shouldn’t there be some acknowledgement of population? While New York may have the most, those 716 locations are split between the 8.2 million people in the city, whereas San Francisco has slightly fewer locations, but literally one tenth as many people as NYC. I have lived in both D.C. and NYC and I don’t think it’s even close that D.C. is a “better” city for car sharing. New York has ten times as many people per location when compared to D.C. and SF.

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