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Car-Sharing: Where and How It Succeeds Chapter 1. Introduction 1.1 Introduction According to one of the earliest published articles on car-sharing, which referred to the concept as "community garages," the concept had no chance of succeeding in the United States. The reason was ample parking and, more generally, the auto-oriented urban form prevalent in the U.S. Fishman and Wabe (1969, p. 442) concluded: The [community garage] plan proposed here has been made with the new town in mind, but it is just as applicable to most British towns and, with variation, to most British cities. Where it simply will not do is in the United States. American cities have, with almost no exception, become motor cities adapted to the owner- driver form of transport. Numerous rivers of motorways disgorge their traffic into oceans of parking areas. At their "headwaters", the motorway rivers can be traced through a vast stream network of subsidiary roads to their source, the innumerable cemented driveways and garages (with houses attached). It is now not uncommon in Los Angeles to see a private garage with room for five or six vehicles, much as an old stable had room for a half-dozen horses. The American city can no longer be adapted to a community garage scheme. Their path is ir- reversible, and they have gone beyond the point of no return. Fortunately, Fishman and Wabe's pessimism was misplaced. Cer- tainly, a little more than five years ago, car-sharing in the United States was virtually non-existent beyond a handful of small-scale community-based initiatives and station car demonstration pro- grams. Since then, however, its growth has been rapid. The three largest operators Flexcar, Zipcar and City CarShare provide ser- vice in metropolitan regions from Seattle to Washington, DC. On top of this, a myriad of smaller-scale car-sharing, station car and other shared vehicle programs operate throughout the country. Meanwhile, Canadian operators with longer experience than their U.S. coun- terparts have introduced car-sharing to virtually every major city, and begun to expand to more suburban and rural areas. Writing more than 30 years ago, however, Fishman and Wabe were remarkably close in predicting the types of environments where car-sharing would succeed. Certainly, in the types of neighborhoods that they describe, car-sharing has not and is highly unlikely to take off. While a program has been established in the Los Angeles re- gion, it has focused on its transit-rich centers such as Santa Monica, Page 1-1