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EHEI Category: Enhancing the Environment for Human Activities

New York: Ithaca Carshare

Ithaca Carshare logo.
Ithaca Carshare is an effective model of transit-oriented carsharing in a small urban area.
(Courtesy of Ithaca Carshare)

Ithaca Carshare is a community nonprofit, transit-oriented carshare organization located in Ithaca, New York. It offers a membership-based service, providing 24/7 self-serve access to vehicles by reservation. The carshare's 21 fuel-efficient vehicles are located near bus stops run by the local transit agency, Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit, extending and complementing that agency's fixed-route transit service. Since its formation in June 2008, Ithaca Carshare has grown to 1,300 members. An analysis of the program by Cornell University indicates that Ithaca Carshare has allowed members to sell or avoid purchasing more than 300 cars, a significant achievement in an urbanized area with a population not much over 50,000.

In partnership with the Ithaca-Tompkins County Transportation Council, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County's Way2Go transportation education program, the Greater Ithaca Activities Center, and Alternatives Federal Credit Union, Ithaca Carshare developed Easy Access. This membership plan addresses financial and financial services barriers, facilitating access to reliable fuel-efficient vehicles through Ithaca Carshare for low-income residents. Easy Access is funded through a Federal Transit Administration Job Access and Reverse Commute Grant matched with local resources.

As a founding member of the international CarSharing Association, Ithaca Carshare is a strong example of a successful transit-oriented carsharing organization in a small urban area. The program is a true community effort, advanced by strong leadership from a group of local residents, collaboration among regulating agencies and government at several levels, including the New York State Department of Transportation and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and effective participation by local institutions, including both Cornell University and Ithaca College, Alternatives Federal Credit Union and a local bank, to meet the financial needs of the young organization. In turn, Ithaca Carshare has provided technical assistance to other emerging nonprofit transit-oriented carshare organizations in Buffalo, Syracuse, and Albany, New York, Burlington, Vermont, and elsewhere in the nation.

For more information, contact Fernando de Arag'n, Ithaca-Tompkins County Transportation Council, at fdearagon@tompkins-co.org, or Jennifer Dotson, Ithaca Carshare, at jennifer@ithacacarshare.org.

Updated: 11/15/2012
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