Car Use Versus Car Ownership

On Tuesday, wearing my Planning and Sustainability Commissioner hat, I’m going to hear from neighbors concerned that the development of new apartment buildings without on-site parking is impacting livability in their neighborhoods.

In fact, I think parking is the tip of the iceberg here. Portland’s growth strategy anticipates a lot of residential growth to occur on transit corridors and the key issues include not just parking, but also design standards, building mass, setbacks and height, all of which impact neighborhood character.

But for the discussion here, I’d like to focus on one interesting tidbit from the research that has been conducted about residents of recently built apartments: they use cars a lot less than the average citizen, at least for commute trips. Only 36% said they commute by single occupancy vehicle. That compares to 59% city-wide.

But 72% of these households are NOT car-free, which says they are owning cars for purposes other than commuting.

That’s an interesting policy problem, as car storage (parking) may impact neighborhood livability as much or more than actual car use.

What kind of policies might keep car ownership more in line with (commuting) car use? ZipCar, Car2Go and GetAround, where are you?

34 Responses to Car Use Versus Car Ownership