TSRC, Zipcar Study Finds Significantly Fewer Personal Cars on Campuses

September 14, 2017

Zipcar, the world’s leading car sharing network, and the University of California, Berkeley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center (TSRC), today released the findings of a first-of-its kind study of Zipcar car sharing on North American college and university campuses.

The results, which were vetted by a group of university administrators earlier this month, show that car sharing programs enable 30 percent of students who live on campus to leave their car at home, freeing up valuable real estate on campuses. Respondents also report saving money on transportation after joining and having the freedom to go where they want, when they want, with the wheels they want.
“Traffic and the lack of parking are growing problems on college and university campuses as student car owners continue to outnumber available parking,” said Susan Shaheen, co-director, UC Berkeley TSRC. “This first-ever study of Zipcar car sharing on college and university campuses shows that implementing an on-campus car sharing program can help to alleviate these concerns and improve the well-being of students, faculty, and staff, providing greater accessibility and mobility without the burden of circling for a spot, feeding a meter, or obtaining a permit.”
More than 10,000 university students, faculty and staff participated in the survey, with students making up the bulk (90 percent) of the respondents. Key findings include: 
  • Zipcar’s college and university members are freeing up precious campus space that could otherwise be used for classroom buildings, science labs and athletic fields.
    • Thirty percent of on-campus students said they would have brought a car to campus if Zipcar wasn’t available.
    • More than 40 percent are less likely to buy a car in the next few years because of Zipcar.
  • The majority of members don’t own a car.
    • Eighty-two percent of students and 66 percent of staff/faculty are car-free.
  • And they’re taking advantage of other mobility options around campus.
    • Nearly 60 percent use public transit at least once a month.
    • After joining Zipcar, 81 percent bike the same amount or more and 86 percent walk the same or more.
  • Zipcar membership has directly improved quality of life and given members the freedom to go where they want, when they want.
    • Nearly 70 percent of university Zipcar members say Zipcar has improved their quality of life, and the same proportion say Zipcar is important or very important to them.
    • Changes in quality of life include more varied experiences, greater accessibility and flexibility, as well as private time to sneak away and do things on their own.
    • The most popular uses are grocery shopping, errands and out-of-town trips.
  • And they’re saving money.
    • Two in five said they save money on transportation as a result of their membership, putting an average of nearly $20 per month back in their pockets.
    • Where’s that money going? Students’ savings are going toward groceries/food, savings and school expenses, while staff and faculty are tucking it away or spending it on groceries/food and rent/mortgage. 
“The solution to campus parking isn’t more spots and lots; it’s offering smarter, more sustainable mobility options that give students the freedom to go where they want, when they want, without bringing a car to school,” said Katelyn Bushey, director of university programs, Zipcar. “Sixteen years ago, we launched Zipcar at a single university, making it our mission to make campuses better places to live and learn. Now, we’re at more than 500 colleges and universities in North America, and this study confirms that we’ve delivered on that mission.”
For more information and detailed findings from Zipcar and UC Berkeley’s TSRC’s study, please view theSlideShare, and for more information on Zipcar’s presence on colleges and universities, visit Zipcar.com/universities.
About Zipcar
Zipcar is the world’s leading car sharing network, driven by a mission to enable simple and responsible urban living. With its wide variety of self-service vehicles available by the hour or day, Zipcar operates in urban areas and university campuses in over 500 cities and towns across Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. Zipcar offers the most comprehensive, most convenient and most flexible car sharing options available. Zipcar is a subsidiary of Avis Budget Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:CAR), a leading global provider of vehicle rental services. More information is available at www.zipcar.com.
About UC Berkeley Transportation Sustainability Research Center
The Transportation Sustainability Research Center (TSRC) was formed in 2006 to combine the research forces of six campus groups at UC Berkeley: the University of California Transportation Center, the University of California Energy Institute, the Institute of Transportation Studies, the Energy and Resources Group, the Center for Global Metropolitan Studies, and the Berkeley Institute of the Environment.
Since TSRC was founded, it has been a leading center in conducting timely research on real-world solutions for a more sustainable transportation future. In addition to performing research informed by a diverse array of perspectives, TSRC also engages in education and outreach to promote its core values of sustainability and equity to ensure that we are able to meet the transportation needs of the present without compromising current and future generations.