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OCR for page 237
Car-Sharing: Where and How It Succeeds 7.4Recommended Approach Performance evaluation brings a range of benefits to car-sharing operators and their partners. To date, however, many efforts have been limited or ad hoc in approach. The following principles might usefully guide future evaluation efforts by partner organizations: Build into programs. Any specific program can benefit from hav- ing monitoring and evaluation activities built in. For example, an evaluation component might be part of a grant funding applica- tion, as with Flexcar's program to bring car-sharing to low-income households in Seattle, using JARC funds. Similarly, a program to incorporate car-sharing into new development as a mitigation measure can be subject to follow-up monitoring and enforcement, in the same way as other mitigations. Seattle and Arlington are beginning to collect comprehensive data on the impacts of devel- opment mitigations, although there is a long lead time. Require- ments to survey building occupants are typically included in the development agreement, which may be signed several years before occupancy. Relate to amount of support. The more generous a partner in pro- viding support, the more evaluation and monitoring is warranted. Minimal evaluation that could be requested by all partners would include data on member and vehicle growth, and any existing sur- vey data. Partners that provide substantial assistance may request an annual survey of car-sharing members; to avoid duplication, this could be a standard survey designed to meet the needs of all partners in a given region. Utilization and financial data may be justifiably requested, in confidence, by partners providing finan- cial support. Relate to alternatives. As an innovative program, car-sharing is naturally subject to particular scrutiny. However, the danger of "over-evaluation" compared to other modes of transportation must be borne in mind. For example, a common measure of the effectiveness of proposed transit investments is "cost per new rider." While useful, this indicator does not directly relate the ben- efits of transit to reductions in vehicle travel, parking demand or emissions data which many partners wish to see for car-sharing. Similarly, parking garages, intersection widenings or vehicle fleet expansion may be approved with little or no analysis of the poten- tial for demand management alternatives. The costs and benefits of a car-sharing program might usefully be compared to alterna- tives, such as parking garage expansion. Such analyses have typi- cally been conducted when comparing the costs of car-sharing to an in-house vehicle fleet, as in Philadelphia, but may be warranted in other instances. Page 7-19