Wednesday, July 1, 2009

July is World Carshare month on World Streets

July is World Carshare month on World Streets. What exactly does that mean and what might it mean for all of us here? In truth we have no clear idea at this point as to how this is going to play out, other than to use this great new medium that is World Streets in collaboration with the World Carshare Consortium which has been looking into this issues in a collaborative international expert forum since 1997. Let's see what happens when we put two good sustainability tools together.

Carsharing: the missing link in your city's sustainable transport system

The World Carshare Consortium is a free, cooperative, independent, international communications program supports carsharing projects and programs, worldwide. Since 1997 it offers a convenient place on the web to gather and share information and independent views on projects and approaches, past, present and planned future, freely and easily available to all comers. Today it serves as an information and exchange point for some 460 members coming if form more than thirty countries.

Why does the New Mobility Agenda support a concept that may to some appear to be so off-beat and marginal as carsharing? Simple! We think it's a great, sustainable, practical mobility idea whose time has come and whose potential impact is quite simply huge. Carsharing: the missing link in your city's sustainable transport system.

But carsharing is not yet a universal phenomenon as it should be. It is our firm belief that these is not one city, note one community even on this planet that should not be taking a careful look at carsharing. A better way to get around.

The following map showing people who came into the Consortium website this morning illustrates both the accomplishment and the challenge . . . we now have to get together to fill in all those empty white swaths. Let's see if we can now put World Streets and others to this great and worthy task.

July - Carsharing Month on World Streets

Our goal for the month is to see if we can encourage and publish at least two or three good articles each week over the month, and quite possibly if we are lucky one a day. After all the world has lots of carsharing in its future and if we can't help the world to understand that, well we are not doing our job.

Now we are counting on you to join in on this. So start to think about your contribution. Bear in mind that our readers come from many different places and while they are undeniably sharp when it comes to matters of sustainable transport, their knowledge of carsharing will often be a bit patchy.

Here are some of the kinds themes we would like to see addressed over the month.

• Outstanding public sector programs, research, etc. that are showing the way
• Cities that understand and are giving strong examples
• What can national programs, agencies do to support and speed the penetration of good carshare projects?
• Ideas for smaller community and even rural carsharing
• Carsharing in Global South cities
• What’s going on in Japan?
• How come no carsharing in China, India and South East Asia? (And when do we start?)
• The sociology of carsharing
• Who carshares?
• Carsharing on university and business campuses
• Combining carsharing and ride sharing
• iPhone et al one-click access to carshare use
• Does the future belong to Zip, Hertz, Avis, etc.?
• Coming carshare events where they can come and learn for themselves
• What about a list of outstanding carshare consultants available to work with you
• And update our World Carshare supplier list as well
• Outstanding reports and publications (critically presented of course).
• Bad News Department: I am sure you will have some candidates there
• Personal essay on experience with carsharing – learning, adaptation
• Videos

The idea is that after a month of total emersion (well almost) in a swirling sea of world carsharing, our readers are going to come away with a pretty sophisticated understanding of how this works and can work in their cities (and in their own lives)

So pitch in, do your bit, and reap the benefits of open teamwork.

Eric Britton, Editor

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