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OCR for page 127
Car-Sharing: Where and How It Succeeds members reported that "You have more money to spend on other things [after joining car-sharing]." Another report was that "Now I can spend more money on rent than on the car." One focus group member reported that "I consider [the cost of car-sharing] a lot, but when I got my annual summary, I had spent $1,100 last year on car-sharing, and somebody at work told me that's less than I would pay for insurance if I owned a car." We noted in Chapter 3 that a certain portion of car-sharing members could be classified as "economizers." These would include at least some of the 82.3% of the respondents who agreed or strongly agreed that "saving money is very important to me." They generally do not own cars, have lower incomes, and are younger than other car-sharing members. In our focus groups, these persons were highly attuned to the costs of specific trips, and tended to base their mode choices for specific trips, to a large extent, on cost. 4.5A Proposed Standard Methodology Several car-sharing operators and partner organizations interviewed as part of this research expressed a desire for a simple methodology that could be consistently used to assess the local impacts of car-sharing in a given commu- nity, and benchmark performance against other cities. This section proposes a standard methodology that would fulfill this need. See Chapters 7 and 8 for a more general discussion of evaluation techniques and of potential mechanisms to aggregate these data on a national scale. The major considerations for this methodology are: Simplicity and conciseness. It is designed to be straightforward to add on to any form of member communication, such as an application form or market research effort, without the need for a dedicated survey. Naturally, this does not preclude car-sharing operators, their partners or independent researchers from adding questions or supplementing them with other research techniques such as travel diaries. Longitudinal. One of the major constraints of simple evaluation surveys of car-sharing has been their reliance on self-reported information for vehicle ownership and use for years past. This makes it difficult to assess the extent of the impacts, particularly if persons have been car-sharing members for several years. The recommended methodology uses a longitudinal analysis similar to the techniques used by I-GO in Chicago and the City of Alexan- dria, VA. Page 4-33

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Chapter 4 Impacts of Car-Sharing The recommended questions are adapted from those used for the online survey for this project, as follows: How many vehicles are owned or leased by you and members of your household? On average, how many days a week do you drive alone to work or school? Do you hold a monthly or annual transit pass? Approximately how many miles do you drive per year? (Include miles in your own vehicle, plus those in borrowed, shared and rental cars.) If car-sharing stopped, would you buy a car? o Yes almost certainly o Yes probably o No probably not o No almost certainly not These questions should be included on both the membership application form and on annual renewal materials. (If no annual renewal is necessary, surveys should be distributed annually.) The responses should be included in the operator's membership database. This approach has two advantages: It allows for longitudinal analysis, i.e. changes for individuals to be tracked over time, and minimizes reliance on respondents' memories or hypothetical responses. Note that some of the ques- tions (such as number of days driving alone to work or school) have little meaning if the survey is conducted as a single snapshot; the value of the data lies in the ability to compare year-on-year changes. It is likely to maximize response rates, since no separate survey form needs to be returned. It allows responses to be linked with other membership data, if desired, such as frequency of car-sharing use and residential or workplace location. Page September 2005 4-34