Car Sharing Local Perspective

Local Perspective

Chicago has two carsharing organizations, I-GO and Zipcar, operating in the region (view a map of carsharing locations). Both operations utilize web based reservation systems and smart technology for the access, operation and tracking of their vehicles.


I-GO is a nonprofit organization based in Chicago that was started by the Center for Neighborhood Technology in 2002 as a pilot program with the use of Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement funds. I-GO has vehicles located for membership use in Chicago, Evanston, and Oak Park. Currently its membership totals exceed 9,000 individuals which include several business entities. I-GO's goals are to "reduce car ownership rates, lower family Transportation costs, reduce urban congestion and improve air quality in all neighborhoods." I-GO, with its "eco-friendly mission," focuses on providing only low-emission vehicles in its fleet. While continuing to expand, I-GO is looking into new suburban locations and creating station cars. Station cars are vehicles placed at transit stations that help users combine transit with carsharing as part of their work commute.Zip Car

Zipcar is a national for-profit business that was started in 1999 in the Boston area. Since a 2007 merger with Flexcar, another national carsharing organization, Zipcar operates in 22 cities across North America, and in London. Zipcar launched operations in Chicago in September 2006, and currently estimates their regional membership at more than 8,000 members with 250 vehicles. Like I-GO, Zipcar has vehicles located in Chicago and Evanston and boasts a fleet that covers a wide range of vehicle types. Chicago's population density, mass transit availability, high parking costs and congestion, heavy vehicle congestion, and strong environmental ethic were some of the characteristics that attracted Zipcar to the Chicago market. The near term expansion efforts of Zipcar will focus on neighborhoods like Bridgeport, Humboldt Park, Bronzeville and Chinatown in the City of Chicago along with existing neighborhood gaps.

What role should CMAP have in planning for car-sharing in the region? Should CMAP promote car-sharing though communicating best practices, recommending development practices that support car-sharing, or more proactive approaches?