SUMC to Help Lead $1.6 Million Low-Income Carsharing Pilot in LA

By July 24, 2015Carsharing, News
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The Shared-Use Mobility Center (SUMC) – a national, public-interest organization working to foster collaboration in shared transportation – announced today it will partner with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the City of Los Angeles to launch a first-of-its kind carsharing pilot project focused on serving low-income residents in L.A.

The goal of the three-year pilot, which will be funded with $1.6 million in state cap-and-trade revenues, is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by introducing electric carsharing fleets into disadvantaged communities.

“The size and scope of this endeavor make it an unprecedented public investment in shared mobility,” said SUMC Executive Director Sharon Feigon. “This unique project will increase access to transportation for hundreds of thousands of Angelenos, while at the same time attracting new private-sector investment, increasing public awareness of electric vehicles and cutting congestion and harmful emissions,” she said.

“Fighting smog and climate change so that our kids can breathe clean air requires more transportation options that don’t rely on dirty fossil fuels,” said California Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León, who authored two bills directing CARB to invest in programs that benefit communities disproportionately impacted by climate change and poor environmental quality. “This electric carsharing pilot project offers a glimpse of the future, and represents the type of shift in policy, infrastructure, and behavior that we need.”

According to Feigon, the project will add approximately 100 electric and hybrid carsharing vehicles and more than 100 charging stations in disadvantaged communities in and around Central Los Angeles. It also aims to recruit at least 7,000 new carsharing users, who in turn are expected to sell or avoid purchasing 1,000 private vehicles, reducing annual greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 2,150 metric tons of CO2.

“We believe shared mobility is a powerful tool that cities can use to reduce transportation costs, lessen air pollution and expand access to jobs, opportunity and a better quality of life,” said Feigon. “We look forward to working with the City of Los Angeles, the California Air Resources Board and our partners in the private sector to help grow carsharing in the L.A. region, especially in those communities where residents stand to benefit most.”

SUMC worked with the City of Los Angeles to design the carsharing pilot and will serve as the primary subcontractor during the course of the project. SUMC’s role will include assisting the City and private carshare companies in matters such as selecting vehicle locations, creating pricing structures for low-income users and building support among local stakeholders and community organizations.

“[The City’s] plan to educate the residents of some of the city’s most vulnerable communities about car sharing and other transportation alternatives, and [its] support for placing public vehicle charging, parking and in the introduction of advanced technology vehicles promises to be transformative in these neighborhoods,” said California Air Resources Board Innovative Strategies Branch Chief Lucina Negrete in a letter to the City of Los Angeles announcing the grant.

“Further, [the City’s] partnership with the Shared-Use Mobility Center and their expertise introducing car sharing services for disadvantaged communities in Chicago and Buffalo ensures that the project has the best prospects for success,” she said.

In all, SUMC’s staff has more than 25 years of experience in launching and operating independent, nonprofit carsharing organizations serving diverse communities including IGO CarSharing (Chicago), Buffalo CarShare (Buffalo, NY) and Capital CarShare (Albany, NY).

The CARB pilot is being funded by California’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF), with proceeds from the cap-and-trade program as established by California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. More information on the Low Carbon Transportation GGRF investments administered by CARB can be found online at http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/aqip/pilots.htm.

Image credit: Mariordo