Yesterday I was reading about The Zip Car 30 Day Low-Car Diet. This, in addition to being a brilliant marketing ploy, is a great idea. Participants from around the U.S. agree to give up their personal vehicles for thirty days. In exchange, they are given a year’s worth of Zip Car use for free. I remember the then-Dean of the Architecture School at UVA, William McDonough, describing a shared car transportation plan for a sustainable town he was working on over ten years ago, and I remember cynically thinking that such a thing would only work on a commune. I’m glad Zip Car has proved me wrong. You can follow the participants here. Last year, 61% of the participants realized they were ready to give up their personal cars and stick with bikes, public transportation, and the occasional Zip rental.
Could you do it? If you sat down, looked at the cost of your car payments, maintenance, insurance and gasoline and realized it cost you about 20% of your income would it sway you at all? Do you have any sort of ample public transportation and/or good bike trails? I don’t use my car much, but honestly, it’s to ingrained in me to have one that I don’t know if I could give it up. I remember this same conversation going for Campbell Scott whenever he tried to sell his idea of the Supertrain in the movie Singles. The response was always “people love their cars.” When the temperature drops below 80, I do tend to walk on a lot of my errands, but it sure is tough not to hop in the car when it’s 100 degrees or when the weather is bad!