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Chapter 7 Procurement and Monitoring Recognize methodological challenges. As discussed in Chapter 4, the impacts of car-sharing on vehicle travel and transit ridership are difficult to quantify, while vehicle ownership data tends to be more reliable. Monitoring programs need to acknowledge these challenges; it may be preferable to focus on simpler indicators, at least initially, even though a partner may have broader goals. For example, changes in vehicle ownership may serve as a proxy for vehicle travel impacts, in that more vehicles taken off the road are likely to equate to greater reductions in vehicle travel. Standardize evaluations. At present, partner organizations find it difficult to benchmark success against similar organizations in other parts of North America. Partners could require operators to use a standard methodology, discussed in detail in Chapter 4, that would both enable national comparisons and avoid partner and operators having to "reinvent the wheel." A small set of standard questions could be supplemented with those of specific interest to the partners and operators. In addition, by asking the same ques- tions at the time of joining and annually thereafter, a longitudinal picture can be developed. This is similar to the approach adopted by I-GO in Chicago. The questions would include: o How many vehicles are owned by you and members of your household? o On average, how many days a week do you drive alone to work or school? o Do you purchase a monthly or annual transit pass? o Approximately how many miles do you drive per year? (In- clude miles in your own vehicle, plus those in borrowed, shared and rental cars.) 7.5 Conclusion Chapter 6 showed that one of the main barriers to car-sharing is a lack of understanding about how and where it works, and skepticism over the extent to which it can help partner organizations reach their goals. Evaluation and monitoring programs are therefore an important complement to the sup- port offered by partner organizations. While evaluation can understandably be a neglected component in the initial stages, when the prime focus is on keeping the car-sharing service alive, in the longer term this approach is unhelpful to both partners and the industry as a whole. Well-designed evalu- ation programs not only can ensure that public and private resources are properly spent, but also can build support for car-sharing within a partner organization and help promote its long-term success. Page September 2005 7-20