IGO CarSharing Awarded FHWA Grant to Expand Carsharing Through Peer-to-Peer Program

CHICAGO (August 3, 2012) – IGO CarSharing, Chicago’s only not-for-profit carsharing organization, has received a grant of over $700,000 from the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration as part of its Value Pricing Pilot Grant Program. IGO will use the funds to pilot a peer-to-peer carsharing program in connection with its existing carsharing service. The pilot will be conducted in partnership with the Illinois Department of Transportation and the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Urban Transportation Center.

Under a peer-to-peer carsharing model, individual car owners make their private cars available for a fee to others when they are not otherwise being used. Members who utilize the shared vehicles pay a fee by the hour or the day.

IGO will implement and study various models of peer-to-peer carsharing including solutions for low-density areas in which it is difficult to successfully operate traditional carsharing. Upon implementation of the pilot, IGO will also study financial benefits to participants and its effectiveness in reducing congestion and increasing air quality.

It is expected that peer-to-peer carsharing will have the same benefits of IGO’s existing carsharing program but on a larger scale. In its ten years of operation use of IGO’s services by members has resulted in over 9,000 vehicles being removed from Chicago-area roads. Additionally, IGO members save over $3,500 annually in transportation costs and report that they increase their walking and bicycling by 27% and 17%, respectively. Environmental benefits of IGO’s traditional carsharing operation include an annual reduction in CO2 emissions of over 45,000 metric tons.

“Over the past ten years, IGO has been able to significantly improve the quality of life for residents of the Chicago area through traditional carsharing. Adding a peer-to-peer program will allow us to ramp up carsharing—and its many benefits—to the scale necessary to better address the issues that threaten urban livability, sustainability and air quality,” said IGO CEO, Sharon Feigon.

UIC’s Urban Transportation Center will assist IGO in developing pricing for the service and evaluating the pilot once implemented. “This is a very exciting and groundbreaking project which could help to substantially expand carsharing in the Chicago region resulting in substantial cost savings to the public, increased use of transit, and spinoff environmental benefits,” said Steve Schlickman, Executive Director of UIC’s Urban Transportation Center.

About I-GO CarSharing

Formed in 2002 as a pilot program of the Center for Neighborhood Technology, IGO has 15,000 members and close to 300 vehicles in over 40 neighborhoods in Chicago and five suburbs throughout the Chicago region. Members pay for cars by the hour (around $8.50), and gas is included in the hourly fee (as is insurance). A typical IGO member spends about $2,520 per year on transportation, roughly $5,000 less than what the average American spends annually to own, operate and maintain a car.

IGO offers the Chicago Card Plus IGO card with the CTA. It allows a seamless transfer between public transit and an IGO vehicle. The Chicago Card Plus IGO card is the only one of its kind in the nation. Seventy-three percent of IGO members either sell a car or postpone a decision to buy one after joining IGO.

By serving its mission to help Chicago area residents to live well in Chicago without having to own a car, IGO saves its members money, helps reduce traffic congestion, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, improves air quality and promotes healthy lifestyles and communities. To join IGO, visit igocars.org.

CONTACT:

Michelle Thoma, IGO CarSharing, 773-269-2212, mthoma@igocars.org

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