Car Sharing: A New Approach to Urban Transportation Problems

This is my latest paper on the concept of sharing cars. In it I describe the growing transportation problems of the major metropolitan areas of the United States and the way in which car sharing might be able to reduce them. After sketching the history of car sharing in Europe and North America, three studies of the early adopters of Car Sharing Portland (CSP), the first commercial car sharing organization I report evidence on the reasons people joined, how they used the cars in the fleet and the effects of their membership on their driving behavior.

Car Sharing Report (PDF file)

[Back to top] Monitoring and Verification Plan

In response to growing regional transportation problems, PPR assisted the Oregon Climate Trust to develop evaluation plan for an innovative web-based carpool/vanpool matching service. The service is primarily designed to curtail the emission of 70,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide over a ten-year period by decreasing single occupancy vehicle commute trips. Known as, it matches individuals who register at its Web site with others who live in their area who have a comparable commuting route and schedule.

Car Pooling Report (PDF file)

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Internet romances: The frequency and nature of romantic on-line relationships.

A recent study on the formation of close relationships on the Internet. We surveyed over 1,000 University students about the relationships they had formed on the Internet. Of the 248 who returned the survey, 36% indicated they had formed a friendship with another individual in an online setting, while 22% described it as a close romantic one. Many students rated their online relationships as equal to or superior to those they had established off-line. We discussed the various ways computer mediated communication can facilitate the development of close relationships, as well as its implications for current theories of relationship formation.

Internet Romance Report (PDF file)

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Comparing Recyclers and Nonrecyclers in Portland: Implications for Increasing Participation in the Curbside Program.

While Portland leads the nation in the amount of household waste that is recycled each year, there are several areas of the City where the rate of participation in the curbside recycling program has been consistently low. This study was designed to investigate the differences between the Recycling and Nonrecycling households in these areas. It was hoped the findings would provide insights on how to more effectively promote recycling among the relatively large number of nonparticipating households.

A brief telephone survey was administered to an adult resident of 110 Recycling households and 105 Nonrecycling households located in the target neighborhoods. Consistent with previous research, Recyclers were far better informed about recycling than Nonrecyclers. It was reflected in the Recyclers superior knowledge of trash collection, curbside recycling procedures and the relationship between these two. Further, recycling knowledge was the strongest predictor of whether or not a household participated in the City's Curbside Program.

Recycling Report (PDF file)

An Evaluation of the State of Oregon's Low Income Residential Energy Savings Program

This report describes the results of a two year Federally funded residential energy assistance program that made available benefits and services to recipients of a low income home energy assistance program in 26 Oregon counties. The program provided co-payments on energy bills, energy education, residential repair and weatherization assistance, family budget management guidance and case management. The report documents the program's application, evaluation methodology and results. In terms of energy outcomes, the results showed a 11% reduction in energy usage that was also maintained s in the year after the project ended, as well as a 42% reduction in the client's utility company arrearages. Participation in the program also led to an average 2.5% decline in the amount of household income allocated to energy.

Low Income Energy Savings (PDF file)

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Car Sharing Portland Review and Analysis of Its First Year.

Car Sharing Portland (CSP), the first commercial car sharing organization in this country, completed its first year of operation at the end of February 1999. At that time it had 110 active members who shared 9 vehicles located at 7 sites. Car Sharing Portland sought to decrease unnecessary automobile travel by providing individuals, who did not own a vehicle or sought an alternative to owning a second vehicle, access to one for their short term travel needs. This report constituted a comprehensive review and analysis of Car Sharing Portland's first year of operation.

The findings presented in this report indicated that, CSP had, in most respects, effectively met most of its first year objectives. An organization was formed, its membership was growing, and the members seemed very satisfied with the service it provided. A firm financial foundation had also been laid and it was clear that the concept of sharing cars was not only appealing, but that was workable in this country. With respect to meeting its mobility goals, it was found that:

  • 26% of CSP members sold their personal vehicle after joining the organization.
  • 53% of CSP members avoided a vehicle purchase as a result of their membership.
  • CSP members increased transit ridership, bicycle use and walking.
  • CSP members estimated they saved an average of $154 per month in transportation costs.
  • CSP members who owned a personal vehicle exhibited a modest VMT reduction but, given their short average (5.6 months) membership period, the decline was not statistically significant.

Car Sharing First Year Evaluation (PDF file)

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