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VIDEO: I-GO’s 2011 Member Holiday Party

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

I-GO Car Sharing’s amazing holiday celebration of its members took place Dec. 1, complete with a new themed name: the “Chicago Shares Celebration,” honoring our city’s emerging sharing economy. Revelers enjoyed savory food and drink, vied for sweet raffle prizes, and heard all about I-GO’s money-saving, eco-friendly accomplishments and big, bold plans for 2012.

As in the past few years, I-GO again enjoyed the generous support of the Merchandise Mart, which provided a lovely party room on the 15th floor (with scenic skyline views for the attendees to enjoy, no less) and offered our guests free entry to its One of a Kind Show and Sale. It was a great opportunity to mingle and take pride in being part of a progressive community.

Read one member’s close-up account of the party here.

A giant thank you to Merchandise Mart Properties, Sierra Nevada, Eli’s Cheesecake, Joffrey Ballet, Hotel Allegro, Christina Frances Photography, Flying Colors Media, and Bull & Bear, which kept the fun going with a festive after party.

Car-Sharing ist gut in Deutschland!

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

In case you’ve ever wondered what German university students think of car sharing (and, hey, who hasn’t?), check out this cool video we stumbled across:

I-GO CEO profiled in DePaul Magazine

Monday, December 19th, 2011

sharon_red_priusIn its Winter 2012 issue, DePaul University’s quarterly magazine profiles I-GO CEO Sharon Feigon. The issue includes a feature section dedicated to environmental coverage, so it’s appropriate that our local, nonprofit, progressively green org is in there, especially since I-GO maintains car locations on DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus and near its Loop campus as well. It’s also fitting because Feigon earned her MBA from DePaul.

READ THE ARTICLE HERE »

CTA Approves Solar-Powered Charging Station for I-GO Electric Vehicles at Kimball Brown Line El Stop

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has approved the installation of an I-GO Car Sharing solar-powered charging station for two electric vehicles at the park and ride lot adjacent to the Brown Line Kimball El station. This is the first solar-powered charging station announced on CTA property.

I-GO recently announced its groundbreaking electric vehicle project that will add 36 all-electric vehicles to its fleet and 18 solar charging stations to provide clean power to its cars. Once completed, I-GO will have the largest electric vehicle fleet in the Midwest, and it will use more solar power to charge electric vehicles than anywhere else in the country.

“CTA has long supported initiatives that reduce emissions and promote sustainability—two main goals of the transit services we offer,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool. “Car sharing is a great complement to public transit.”

“I-GO is committed to being at the forefront of car sharing technology and sustainability, and providing pollution-free electric vehicles to our members is part of that commitment,” said Sharon Feigon, CEO of I-GO. “Our forward-looking public and private sector partners understand the value of clean transportation options and are working with I-GO to make them available to their customers and constituents.”

Each solar charging station will form a canopy that covers four parking spaces. The Kimball canopy will cover two electric cars, one regular low-emissions I-GO vehicle, and one spot for the general public. Each canopy will be topped with 44 solar panels, for a capacity of 10 kilowatts. In aggregate, the canopies will produce about 200,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity annually, which will power as much as 600,000 miles driven per year. As a result, I-GO and its members could save as many as 17,000 gallons of gasoline each year. The company 350Green will install the solar canopies. To see a rendering of the canopies, visit: http://igocars.org/2011/11/30/solar-canopies/

Today’s announcement marks the latest effort by CTA to promote car-sharing services as a complement to public transit. In 2009, the CTA and I-GO began offering a joint smart card that allows a seamless transfer between public transit and an I-GO vehicle. The Chicago Card Plus I-GO card is the only one of its kind in the nation.

In addition to the new CTA location at the Kimball Brown Line stop, the other solar canopy locations include:

  • JEWEL-OSCO at 5516 N. Clark
  • JEWEL-OSCO at 5343 N. Broadway
  • JEWEL-OSCO at 101 W. 87th Street
  • JEWEL-OSCO at 438 W. Madison, Oak Park
  • City of Evanston Municipal Lot #3 at 1702 Chicago Avenue
  • City of Evanston Municipal Lot #4 at 2122 Central Street
  • City of Evanston Municipal Lot #32 at 825 Hinman Avenue
  • Village of Oak Park lot in the 1100 block of North Boulevard, between Marion and Forest
  • Village of Oak Park Village Hall at 123 Madison
  • Uncommon Ground at 1401 West Devon
  • Illinois Institute of Technology at 3201 S. State Street

Formed in 2002, I-GO has 15,000 members and more than 200 locations in 35 neighborhoods and four 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 I-GO 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. To join I-GO, visit igocars.org.

Join I-GO for less this holiday season!

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

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Give yourself a gift that keeps on giving in the form of transportation savings and environmental benefits: an I-GO Car Sharing membership!

Now through December 31, we’re offering a special holiday discount on I-GO membership. Join for just $25 AND get $25 in free driving.* That’s like getting I-GO at a net-zero rate! It seems fitting to us since, by reducing car ownership and tailpipe greenhouse-gas emissions, I-GO encourages a carbon-offset net-zero lifestyle. Go green for the holidays and save yourself some green at the same time!

To redeem this festive offer, simply enter the promo code HOLIDAY2011 in the Promotions section on our online application form.

Happy holidays from I-GO, Chicago’s hometown nonprofit car-sharing organization!

 
* Driving credit must be redeemed within 30 days of membership activation.

Chicago Tribune covers I-GO’s solar-powered EV project

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

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Today’s Chicago Tribune includes a report on I-GO’s groundbreaking $2.5 million electric vehicle project that will add 36 all-electric vehicles to the I-GO fleet.

“Once completed,” writes reporter Julie Wernau, “I-GO will have the largest electric vehicle fleet in the Midwest, and it will use more solar power to charge electric vehicles than anywhere else in the country.”

READ THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE ARTICLE »

I-GO Launches Solar-Powered Electric Vehicle Project

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

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I-GO Car Sharing Launches Groundbreaking Solar-Powered Electric Vehicle Project

Will Become National Leader in Using Clean Solar Power to Charge Its Electric Fleet

CHICAGO (November 30, 2011)— I-GO Car Sharing, Chicago’s nonprofit car sharing organization, has launched a $2.5 million electric vehicle project that will add 36 all-electric vehicles to its fleet and 18 solar charging stations providing clean power to its cars. Once completed, I-GO will have the largest electric vehicle fleet in the Midwest, and it will use more solar power to charge electric vehicles than anywhere else in the country.

“I-GO is committed to being at the forefront of car sharing technology and sustainability, and providing pollution-free electric vehicles to our members is part of that commitment,” said Sharon Feigon, CEO of I-GO “Our forward-looking public and private sector partners understand the value of clean transportation options and are working with I-GO to make them available to their customers and constituents.”

I-GO is today announcing the locations of 11 solar-powered charging stations throughout the Chicago region, including several JEWEL-OSCO stores, the Illinois Institute of Technology, the Village of Oak Park, the City of Evanston, and Uncommon Ground restaurant. The remaining seven locations will be announced soon. The canopies will be installed in early 2012.

Each solar charging station will form a canopy that covers four parking spaces and will be able to power two electric vehicles. Two spaces will be reserved for I-GO at each location, and the others will be available to the public. Each canopy will be topped with 44 solar panels, for a capacity of 10 kilowatts. In aggregate, the canopies will produce about 200,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity annually, which will power as much as 600,000 miles driven per year. As a result, I-GO and its members could save as many as 17,000 gallons of gasoline each year. The company 350Green will install the solar canopies. To see a rendering of the canopies, visit: http://igocars.org/2011/11/30/solar-canopies/

“We are committed to serving our customers in the greenest way possible, and providing solar-powered electric car sharing is a fun and innovative way for us to achieve that goal,” said JEWEL-OSCO President Brian Huff.  “With I-GO and the accompanying charging stations, many of our customers who do not own cars will have a convenient way to take their groceries home, while also lowering their carbon footprint by using solar-powered electric vehicles.”

The solar canopy locations include

  • JEWEL-OSCO at 5516 N. Clark
  • JEWEL-OSCO at 5343 N. Broadway
  • JEWEL-OSCO at 101 W. 87th Street
  • JEWEL-OSCO at 438 W. Madison, Oak Park
  • City of Evanston Municipal Lot #3 at 1702 Chicago Avenue
  • City of Evanston Municipal Lot #4 at 2122 Central Street
  • City of Evanston Municipal Lot #32 at 825 Hinman Avenue
  • Village of Oak Park lot in the 1100 block of North Boulevard, between Marion and Forest
  • Village of Oak Park Village Hall at 123 Madison
  • Uncommon Ground at 1401 West Devon
  • Illinois Institute of Technology at 3201 S. State Street

I-GO’s solar-powered electric vehicle project has been made possible by grants from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), the Chicago Area Clean Cities Partnership, and the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation.

Formed in 2002, I-GO has 15,000 members and more than 200 locations in 35 neighborhoods and four 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 I-GO 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.

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

In addition to saving its members money, I-GO reduces traffic congestion, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, improves air quality, and promotes healthy lifestyles and neighborhoods. To join I-GO, visit igocars.org

###

CONTACT:

Emily Robinson, Center for Neighborhood Technology, 773.269.4043, erobinson@cnt.org
Michelle Thoma, I-GO Car Sharing, 773-269-2212, mthoma@igocars.org

I-GO Car Sharing is dedicated to creating a robust and seamlessly integrated transportation system that is ubiquitous, convenient, and affordable for individuals, and provides the region with expanded economic development opportunities and exemplary environmental performance. I-GO is an affiliate of the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT). www.igocars.org/

More details on the I-GO holiday party

Friday, November 18th, 2011

I-GO’s Chicago Shares Celebration

The Merchandise Mart, 15th FloorThursday, December 1, 5:30-8pm

You already know about car sharing, but what about all of the other opportunities in Chicago to collaboratively save money and reduce your carbon footprint? Come to the “Sharing Celebration” to mingle with other enthusiasts, and explore a bounty of knowledge on this transformative sector.

Enjoy savory eats, festive drinks, FREE entry to the Mart’s One of a Kind Show and Sale, and amazing raffle prizes from:

Extreme Organizing, Green Home Experts, Joffrey Ballet, Hotel Allegro, Newleaf Natural Grocery, Painted Light Photos & Framing, Uncommon Ground, Bark Bark Club, El Cid, M2 Boutique, Katherine Anne Confections and more!

Bring your friends, family, and colleagues who want to join I-GO: The first 10 people to join at the party pay only a $25 application fee ($50 savings) and receive a bonus, $50 of driving credits!

Cost to Attend:

Free for I-GO Members

$5 – Friends, Family, Colleagues of I-GO Members; and Constituents of Sharing Fair Participants

$10 – General Admission

Pre-Registration Requested. Register Now.

The I-GO Team

Thank you to Merchandise Mart Properties, Sierra Nevada, Eli’s Cheesecake, Christina Frances Photography, and the One of A Kind Show for their generous contributions.

I-GO Chicago Shares Celebration Sponsor Logos

Thanksgiving photo contest!

Monday, November 14th, 2011

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Whether the holiday brings to mind pilgrims and Native Americans or gratitude for blessings in your own life, Thanksgiving is a great time to celebrate community service. With that sentiment in mind, I-GO is holding a Thanksgiving photo contest for I-GO members and awarding the winner $100 in the form of a donation to a charity or non-profit org for which they volunteer. Simply send us a photo of yourself performing volunteer work for that organization, and I-GO will chip in with a token of our appreciation for your selfless effort. Deadline for entries is Wed., Nov. 23. As a community-based, non-profit service, we think it’s important to support and recognize community service of all types. And, of course, we’re thankful to have you as an I-GO member!

Orchard picking

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Westfield
Finding parking at shopping centers during the holidays can be exasperating. Not so for I-GO members headed to Skokie’s Westfield Old Orchard, which recently designated two reserved parking spaces just for I-GO cars. The spaces are conveniently located across from Toms-Price Home Furnishings, near The Cheesecake Factory, on the north end of the shopping center. It’s just the latest amenity in I-GO’s relationship with Skokie, which also has an I-GO car location across from Village Hall at 5156 Oakton Ave. (a red Honda Insight hatchback hybrid, ID# 4449).

From Nov. 25 through Dec. 31, I-GO members also get a VIP card with exclusive savings at participating Westfield Old Orchard shops and restaurants when they show their membership cards at the Westfield Concierge, located on the upper level of the Service Collection area between the play area and Champps Restaurant on the mall’s west side.

During this time, I-GO members who shop at Westfield Old Orchard can also enter to win a “Let’s Go I-GO” commuter prize pack featuring a $100 Westfield Gift Card plus an L.L. Bean tote filled with everything a commuter needs. Look for the entry form and contest drop box at the concierge desk.

Here are the participants offering VIP discounts to I-GO members:

  • Akira: Buy one, get one half off.
  • Aveda: Hair care consulation and sample of botanical-based products.
  • The Body Shop: $5 off $25 purchase (excludes charity items and the cost of Love Your Body card).
  • Clarks Shoes: 20% off any regularly priced merchandise, footwear and handbags.
  • CorePower Yoga: Drop-in classes – $14 instead of $19; 10 classes – $129 instead of $165.
  • Francesca’s Collections: 20% off purchase of $100 or more.
  • InStyle Salon: 20% off a haircut and blow dry (valid for first-time clients only).
  • Johnny Rockets: 15% off entire purchase.
  • LensCrafters: 25% off complete pair of glasses (excludes Oakley sunglasses and Maui Jim sunglasses).
  • Lord & Taylor: Receive a 15% Savings Pass on regular and sale-price merchandise.
  • Portrait Gallery from Bella: 20% off entire purchase.
  • Rogers & Hollands Jewelers: 20% off one regularly priced item (excludes JRS sales, watches and pink tag items).
  • Skechers Fitness: 20% off purchase in store.
  • Subway: Buy 1 regular 6-inch sub and 21-oz. drink and get 1 regular 6-inch sub free.
  • T-Mobile: 30% off purchase of 3 or more accessories; 20% off purchase of 2 accessories.
  • Wilde & Greene: 10% off entire purchase.

I-GO bringing solar-charged electric cars to Oak Park

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Reports Trib Local’s Jim Jaworski:

“[Oak Park Village's board] approved a deal [Monday] with I-GO and 350 Green, a Los Angeles-based company that installs electric car recharging stations, which will create two solar-powered canopies to recharge vehicles. One will be at in the parking lot of Village Hall, 123 Madison St., and the other will be installed on North Boulevard between Marion Street and Forest Avenue.”

“Each station will have four spots, two for I-GO cars and two for the public. Members of the public can use the stations by signing on for a monthly membership with 350 Green or pay-as-you-go by calling a number listed at the station. Each canopy will have three charges that can replenish a vehicle in three to eight hours and one high-powered charger that can fill a battery in less than an hour.”

Read the full story here »

I-GO co-sponsors “Revenge of the Electric Car” screening

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Doc film director Chris Paine’s 2006 exposé, Who Killed the Electric Car?, was an eye-opener, laying bare U.S. automakers’ resistance to electric-battery-powered vehicles, specifically GM’s EV1 in the mid 1990s. Five years later, Paine is back with a sequel that couldn’t be more timely: Revenge of the Electric Car, which follows four fascinating EV industry personalities in their pursuit of a transformed automotive culture.

I-GO is co-sponsoring a special screening of the film at the Gene Siskel Film Center this Friday, Nov. 11, at 6pm. Co-sponsors include the University of Chicago, Sierra Club’s Illinois Chapter, and Mindful Metropolis. The film will be followed by a panel discussion featuring executive producer Stefano Durdic; James Salle, Assistant Professor at the Harris School of Public Policy, University of Chicago; and Jack Darin, Director, Sierra Club Illinois Chapter. Join us, the panelists, and 11th district State Representative Ann Williams before the film at 5 p.m., for a reception with cash bar in the Film Center’s gallery/café.

I-GO is making major strides of its own to bring electric cars to the Chicago area. We will be deploying 36 electric vehicles with solar charging canopies across the metro area. Just this week, we finalized an agreement to build two solar-powered EV charging stations in Oak Park.

As an environmentally focused organized, we think EVs and car sharing are an ideal match and a fantastic way to raise public awareness of the renewable-energy revolution on our doorstep. Come join us at the film screening and learn more!

WATCH THE TRAILER:

Join us at I-GO’s Chicago Shares Celebration, Dec 1

Monday, November 7th, 2011

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Celebrate the Spirit of Sharing with I-GO!

The Merchandise Mart, 15th Floor, Market Square Library Room
Thursday, December 1, 5:30-8pm

222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza, Chicago

Hobnob with fellow members and Chicago’s leading sharing institutions at I-GO’s “Chicago Shares Celebration!”

Amid festive entertainment, get a sneak peek of I-GO’s exciting plans for 2012, our 10th anniversary! New to the party this year, a Sharing Fair provides you with the opportunity to expand your knowledge of the many facets of Chicago’s emerging sharing economy.

Enjoy savory eats, festive drinks, and amazing raffle prizes. As always, attendees will receive FREE entry to the Mart’s One of a Kind Show and Sale.

Bring your friends, family, and colleagues who want to join I-GO: The first 10 people to join at the party pay only a $25 application fee ($50 savings) and receive a bonus, $50 of driving credits!

Join us directly after the event at Bull & Bear for the Official After Party and enjoy one complimentary drink upon arrival!

Cost to Attend:
Free for I-GO Members
$5 – Friends, Family, Colleagues of I-GO Members; and Constituents of Sharing Fair Participants
$10 – General Admission
Pre-Registration Requested. Register Now.

Happy holidays from the I-GO Team !

Thank you to Merchandise Mart Properties, Sierra Nevada, Eli’s Cheesecake, Joffrey Ballet, Hotel Allegro, Bull & Bear, and Christina Frances Photography for their generous contributions.

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Directions to the Merchandise Mart:

By CTA Train
Brown Line to Merchandise Mart station
Blue, Orange, Pink, Green lines to Clark/Lake station
Red Line to Lake or Grand stations

By CTA Bus
#65 Grand, #22 Clark, #125 Water Tower Express, #156 LaSalle and many other downtown bus routes

By Metra
Ogilvie Transportation Center and Union Station are less than a mile from the Mart.

For detailed travel information: www.transitchicago.com (CTA) and www.goroo.com (RTA)

Save the date for the I-GO member holiday party!

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

We know how busy everyone’s lives get around the holidays, so we’re giving you advance notice for an exciting event we are planning. Got your calendar out? Here are the details:

I-GO’s Chicago Shares Celebration
Thurs, Dec 1, 5:30-8:30pm
Merchandise Mart, 15th Floor

We’ll have savory food and drinks, music, raffle prizes, and Chicago’s very first “Sharing Fair” where you can expand your knowledge of the many facets of Chicago’s emerging sharing economy.

Guests will also receive free tickets to the Mart’s One of a Kind Show & Sale, featuring inspired gifts by more than 600 artists and artisans from all over North America.

It’s sure to be a great time, so don’t miss out! I-GO members: Look for a formal invite very soon.

I-GO’s San Fran sister org aims high for 2020

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

City-CarShare

City CarShare, I-GO’s nonprofit carshare counterpart in San Francisco and the East Bay, recently announced an ambitious “20,000 by 2020″ goal. Our Bay-area compatriots plan to take 20,000 more cars off the road by 2020. That stat sounds grand, but it’s based on research that every carshare vehicle replaces 15 owned vehicles, and carshare org members reduced their driving by half. Their announcement event was attended by Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee, and other city and state officials.

Of course, car sharing folks also save thousands on transportation costs, and City CarShare also aims to save its members an additional $1 billion over the cost of car ownership by the year 2020.

More exciting yet, our friends — with whom I-GO has a longstanding roaming agreement that lets our members skip the membership signup fees — plan to achieve a fleet mix of 50% electric-based or alternative-fuel vehicles by 2015.

We’re on the same page here: I-GO is making major progress on plans to deploy 36 electric vehicles with solar charging canopies across the Chicagoland area.

If you’re headed to San Francisco any time soon, we encourage you to get around town with our progressive carshare pals at City CarShare!

Medill Reports covers I-GO/CTA smartcard program

Friday, October 21st, 2011

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“I-GO sees itself as a form of public transportation that provides the last mile solution for the CTA.” That’s the good word from reporter John Skelly, Jr., writing about I-GO’s partnership with the CTA for Northwestern University’s Medill Reports.

The article describes the motivating factors behind the 2008 development of the Chicago Card Plus/I-GO Card, a joint smartcard offered by I-GO that lets its members access both I-GO vehicles and CTA trains and buses. Today, reports Skelly, there are about 1,800 cards in circulation. The result: cost savings across transportation modes and a progressive re-thinking of how public transit can fit within a mixture of services to better meet the needs of a metropolitan population.

“You could have the most extensive transit system in the world but every rail line has to have an end. If you have I-GO cars at a station, people can take a car,” says I-GO’s Business Development Manager, Richard Kosmacher, who’s quoted in the article along with other sources who provide a well-rounded POV on the benefits of I-GO.

READ THE ARTICLE »

Roamin’ empire

Friday, October 14th, 2011

I-GO planet
Traveling anytime soon? Rather carshare than rent on your trip? You’ll be happy to hear that I-GO belongs to the CarSharing Association, an international network of regional carshare providers dedicated to environmentally and socially responsible transportation. There are fifteen member orgs on board now, and seven more are joining soon.

I-GO has roaming agreements in place with these fine folks. Call us at least a week prior to your trip, and we’ll contact our car-sharing partners on your behalf. In most cases, we’ll be able to fast-track an account for you and arrange access to the service’s cars without you having to deal with the standard membership application process and fees.

Got a car-sharing colleague or friend visiting Chicago from one of these cities? Vice versa for them. Just have them email I-GO Member Services or call (773) 278-4446 and we’ll arrange an I-GO Access Tag (electronic key fob) for them.

Bus stop bling

Monday, October 10th, 2011

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I-GO has always been a huge supporter of public transit. We even have a joint smartcard with the CTA that gets you into I-GO cars and CTA trains and buses. We like to think of I-GO and CTA as two parts of an integrated, multimodal, sustainable system.

So we’re psyched to see CTA installing LED screens for its awesome Bus Tracker app at 400 bus shelters around town. The first 150 will be installed by March 2012. You can see where they’re located on this map. Not only will the GPS-enabled system inform you when the next bus is arriving, it will tell you audibly at the push of a button — a super cool, mod feature for the visually impaired.

Lots of these sweet screens are close to I-GO car locations, too, making it even easier to transfer from a car-sharing set of wheels to your favorite bus.

Faces of I-GO: CUMALI

Saturday, October 8th, 2011

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Chicago Urban Ministries And Life Interventions (CUMALI) is a nonprofit organization that, in the words of CUMALI’s Rachel Otto, “works to empower the homeless in urban Chicago by engaging with the homeless where they live, providing necessary services, and creating a sense of community support without judgment or prerequisite. We believe that no one in Chicago should go without the human necessities that most take for granted. We make several stops throughout Lower Wacker Drive, Union Station and Clark/Division every Monday night and deliver sandwiches, beverages, socks, clothing, blankets, and a message of friendship and support.”

CUMALI, which has been active as an organization since 2009, is “very pleased and proud” to be associated with I-GO Car Sharing. They use I-GO cars as a backup mode of transportation when their primary driver is unavailable, and hope to rely on I-GO vehicles more regularly in the future. “We have three active I-GO drivers registered for our organization and have had a great experience making the reservations and using the cars,” Otto says. “It’s simple to do and I-GO has superb customer service. Thank you, I-GO, for helping us accomplish our mission!”

Fleet update: Ukrainian Village

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

2012 gray Nissan Versa hatchbackNeed another reason to get around with I-GO? Here’s one: We’ve added a new car in the Ukrainian Village neighborhood.

It’s a 2012 gray Nissan Versa hatchback located at 1003 N. Leavitt St.

Just log in with your Member ID number at www.igocars.org to reserve it. You can quickly find it in our online reservation system by entering 4623 in the Vehicle ID search field.

We hope this provides another helpful, convenient option for you.

Fleet update: Hyde Park relocation

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

I-GO Car Sharing has moved the two I-GO cars previously located at 5230 S. Lake Park Ave. to 5420 S. Lake Park Ave. The new location is in the Hyde Park Shopping Center parking lot on S. Lake Park between 54th Street and 54th Place. Our space faces S. Lake Park and is near Office Depot. The two cars are a blue Honda Element utility (vehicle ID #4487) and a silver Nissan Versa hatchback (vehicle ID #4479). The relocation is due to construction related to the Harper Square residential/retail development.

Because this is one of our oldest I-GO locations, we’ve done our best to inconvenience our members as little as possible. Our new location is just two blocks south of our old spaces. I-GO also has car locations at Woodlawn and 52nd, Cornell and 50th, Regents Park Apartments (5020 S. Lake Shore Dr.), and the Ballys at 47th and S. Lake Park Ave.

Log in with your Member ID number at www.igocars.org to reserve any of these vehicles.

So far, so good, solar!

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

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Which is to say that I-GO is making progress on its plans to deploy 36 electric vehicles with solar charging canopies across the Chicagoland area. By equipping our charging stations with solar canopies, we’re creating a clean-energy closed loop that benefits the environment, the economy, and sustainable transportation in a big way.

Part of our efforts are focused on Evanston, where we’re looking at two city-owned locations. Trib Local reporter Jonathan Bullington covers that story in that publication’s Evanston edition.

Beach bash!

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

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I-GO joined WXRT Radio and Shedd Aquarium last night to support the Shedd’s first Concert for the Great Lakes. The Dock at Montrose Beach hasn’t featured a mainstream headliner like Guster before, and those in attendence enjoyed a rare North Side beachfront rock concert. I-GO put in the good word for car sharing at the show, which raised awareness of the need for Great Lakes conservation. Hats off to the Shedd and WXRT for getting out that message, and for inviting us as a sponsor. We’ll look forward to the next concert in the new annual series in 2012!

I-GO co-sponsoring Guster concert tonight!

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

greatlakes_sheddI-GO Car Sharing is proud to support 93XRT and the Shedd Aquarium for the first-ever Concert to Celebrate the Great Lakes, starring Guster, on Thurs., Sept. 22, at 5:30pm (music starts at 7pm) at The Dock at Montrose Beach, 200 W. Montrose Harbor Dr.

Make your participation in this event count even more by supporting environmentally sustainable practices on land with an I-GO membership: We’re offering all concert goers a special discount. This one-time offer entitles you to join for only $25 (a savings of $50) and receive $10 in free driving!*

I-GO is Chicago’s hometown non-profit car sharing service. We’re all about affordability, convenience, and environmental solutions that help reduce everyone’s carbon footprint.

xrt_rockrollrecycleChances are, there are I-GO cars near your home, work, or preferred CTA routes. I-GO members NEVER pay for gas, and insurance is included in your membership, too. Reserve a car online 24/7, unlock the doors with your I-GO Access Tag, and pay a low hourly rate only when you drive. We also offer a joint smartcard with CTA that gets you into any car in the I-GO fleet as well as CTA trains and buses.

Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Click (or tap on a mobile browser) the yellow JOIN TODAY button above.
  2. Choose either the standard I-GO membership or CTA Chicago Card Plus/I-GO Card.
  3. Complete the online application. Under “Promotions” enter promo code GREATLAKES.
  4. Once you’re approved (we have a few basic eligibility requirements), you’ll receive your I-GO smartcard and Member ID number in the mail within 4-6 business days.
  5. Reserve a car at www.igocars.org or by phone at (773) 278-4446 and get I-GOing!

* Free driving credit must be used within 30 days of membership activation.

SolarChargedDriving.com covers I-GO’s EV plans

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

rear_plug_phev
“There are some skeptics who say, ‘Well, electric cars. Yeah that’s great, but the power is coming from coal-fired power plants. You’re just switching one source of pollution for another.’ Not so with what we’re doing. It’s going to be completely clean straight down the line.”

That quote come from Jonathan Goldman, project manager of I-GO’s Electric Vehicle Program, which has steadily been taking shape for quite some time and will soon become a fully charged reality.  Goldman was interviewed for a recent article posted on SolarChargedDriving.com, which covers a niche near and dear to I-GO’s eco-friendly heart.

The article covers I-GO’s plans to build 18 solar-charging electric vehicle stations in Chicago. As the stations appear, so, too, will more EVs in the I-GO fleet. Locations have been scouted and we’re excited to be moving forward on this bright, sunny response to our nation’s need for transportation powered by clean energy. Stay tuned for more news on our EV Program in the coming weeks and months!

This green party is a winning ticket

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

green_balloons
Thirty three and a third. That’s how old the Center for Neighborhood Technology is, and to celebrate, I-GO’s parent org is holding an eco-licious anniversary shindig at a stylishly green, uber-hip Fulton Market showroom. Do we second the motion? Heck, we third it.

Friday, September 30th
5:30pm to 8:30pm
Green Home Chicago
213 N. Morgan Street #1D

I-GO members are welcome to RSVP.

Interested in talking shop with some of Chicago’s most progressive urban-sustainability pioneers? Here’s your chance — and here are the details.

I-GO eyes EV expansion in Evanston

Monday, August 29th, 2011

goldman_evanstonpatch

By year’s end, Evanston could be home to two I-GO solar-canopy car rental stations, where any person with the inclination and know-how would be able to rent one of four solar-charged electric cars.

Representatives for I-GO, led by EV Project Manager Jonathan Goldman, pitched the plan to Evanston’s Transportation and Parking Committee at the group’s Wednesday night meeting.

An article in the Evanston Patch does a nice job of covering the Evanston proposal as well as I-GO’s overall plans for electric car expansion in the metro area.

Four new I-GO car locations

Monday, August 29th, 2011

red_versa_hatchbackWe’ve just added four more cars in the following locations, including our first-ever space in Berwyn!

North Coast Music Fest contest results

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

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The results have been tabulated and the winner crowned in I-GO’s North Coast Music Festival contest.

We asked I-GO members on our Facebook page and in this blog to answer the following questions in the most creative way possible for a chance to win a pair of three-day passes to the North Coast Music Festival:

“If I-GO was a band, what should it be called? And what sort of music would it perform?”

The fest, taking place Sept. 2-4 in Union Park, is organized by local indie producers and features a stellar lineup of cutting-edge, contemporary artists such as Common, Bassnectar, Of Montreal, Gogol Bordello, Lotus and more.

Envelope, please. And the tickets go to:

Zach Freeman!

Here’s Zach’s winning entry:

I-GO’S BAND NAME:
Homegrown Heroes

This name captures many aspects of I-GO’s personality, including its heroic dedication to helping Chicagoans find alternative (and affordable) means of transportation, its eco-friendly “green” image, and its commitment to local Chicago culture.

BAND DESCRIPTION:
Appealing to listeners of all backgrounds and ages with tunes that are as easy to get into as an I-GO rental, Homegrown Heroes would perform a mix of atmospheric indie rock along the lines of Grizzly Bear and Fleet Foxes and more beat-driven garage rock like The Kills and The White Stripes, with a hint of underground hip hop (like a less-intense Atmosphere). They’d be known for their critically acclaimed and epically listenable albums as well as for their moving live performances featuring free insurance for all crowd surfers.

“Free insurance for all crowd surfers” — nice, Zach. Just know our insurance doesn’t cover getting kicked in the head with a combat boot.

We plied Zach for a little more info on himself and how he uses I-GO. To wit:

How Zach uses I-GO: “My wife and I use I-GO for driving to race events outside Chicago (we’re renting one on Labor Day for the Oak Brook Half Marathon), home improvement trips, and picking people up and dropping them off at the airport.”
What Zach does for a living: “[I'm the] Director of Technology for the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at DePaul University.”
Festival acts Zach is most looking forward to: “Wiz Khalifa, Common, Fatboy Slim, Gogol Bordello, and Of Montreal.”

Have fun at the fest, Zach. And thanks for supporting I-GO!

Here are some of the other entries we received from I-GO members. We wanted to share them with everyone. As far as we’re concerned, car sharing is sort of like a band: When everyone follows the same beat and shares a common vision, we make truly awesome music together.

 
 

RUNNERS-UP:

 

I-GO MEMBER:
Forrest Gibbs

I-GO BAND NAME:
“I-Ghost”

BAND DESCRIPTION:
“That ephemeral sound between Plastikman, Moby, and Ghostland Observatory. Performed with live guitar and drums some times, just the DJ other times, and some songs with a vocalist. Elements of electronic music and traditional bands. Like a smarter, more modern version of Pendulum. It should be minimal, modern, and slightly from the future. It should be easily accessible but still with a new feel. It’s a bit different then the mainstream norms but fits people perfectly. Those who try it out love it, and they tell their friends. It should have a feeling of omnipresence and subtle familiarities that make it your own, even though it’s a bit too complex for you to put together yourself. You’re grateful there’s some one else to help out.”

 
 

I-GO MEMBER:
Luke Classen

I-GO BAND NAME:
“The Everbearing Ecovaters”

BAND DESCRIPTION:
“They make electronic reggae music. Their set is complete with a solar-powered soundstage and an LED light forest surrounding the whole stage and crowd.”

 
 

I-GO MEMBER:
Wynsley Kuo

I-GO BAND NAME:
“The Green Machines”

BAND DESCRIPTION:
“The band would write and perform songs that naturally relate to using the cars — road-tripping, going to the store, making out in the back seat, etc. The band would likely also get into a very public beef with Zipcar in the media.”

 
 

I-GO MEMBER:
Nicole Lana

I-GO BAND NAME:
“Bass Boomers”

“We are young, we are broke, we are synthesized, and we are taking our time to figure everything out. And until we do, we will play. We are the follow-up to the baby boomers, looking for bass in the masses, and looking to afford it all.”

BAND DESCRIPTION:
“That is why if I-GO were a band they would be an electronic band. Electronic music is up and coming. Over the last two years it has been growing in popularity and surpassing other genres to be the sound of our generation. Electronic music is made for the young. It is fun, high energy, and life-changing. It is a perfect release for confused, stressed young adults to blow off some steam and have the time of their lives.”

 
 

I-GO MEMBER:
Sarah Lawson

I-GO BAND NAME:
“The I-GO-GO Dolls (if you don’t get the reference, shame on you)”

BAND DESCRIPTION:
“Like the band whom their name is derived from, the I-Go-Go Dolls would be a nice, reliable mix of soft rock and powerful vocals. Music like that is similar to the fundamentals of I-GO Car Sharing because it is liked by everyone; when you need a song to satisfy a particular mood, you go back to one of their classic hits. I-Go-Go Dolls’ sound would be mellow at times, but live they would have a great energy even during slower songs, and most likely would rock out at North Coast!”

 
 

I-GO MEMBER:
Ann Warnke

I-GO BAND NAME:
“It would be like if Sound Tribe and Yonder Mountain String Band had a child and named it I-GO.” [So, um, maybe "Tribal Summit"?]

BAND DESCRIPTION:
“If I-GO was a band it would consist of four to five people: a drummer, bassists, a DJ of course, a banjo because they’re awesome, and a singer. It would be some funky psychedelic bluegrass that would take the audience through a crazy, trippy melody adventure — where, at one point, the audience would all just be getting down to the songs, moving and feeling the beat. Then, next, they would be getting sucked into the song and not being able to move because the sound was just so beautiful. Also, to complete the whole experience, the members of the band would all wear intense, glittery, lit-up capes just because glitter and glow sticks cannot go wrong with each other.”

 
 

I-GO MEMBER:
Crystal L. Peralez

I-GO BAND NAME:
“City GO-r’s”

“Being that you give updates about the city that a person is in. This is a very helpful application, especially for those constantly on the GO!”

BAND DESCRIPTION:
“The music you’d play would be most likely electronic, with the mixture of Mike Simonetti and Ladytrons beats. The vocals would be similar to that of Coldplay and (don’t hate me for this) Maroon Five. You’d have a variety of tracks — some slow, more mellow — that you could listen to everywhere, and yet some more upbeat dance songs that could be played to rock out in the house while cleaning, driving around in the car, or that would be played at all the best hot spots! With music like that you can’t go wrong. You’d have a very big fan base.”

I-GO CEO Sharon Feigon profiled in Chicago Tribune

Monday, August 22nd, 2011
Sharon

Photo of Sharon Feigon, CEO of I-GO Car Sharing, at an I-GO parking station under the CTA Blue LIne at North Avenue in Chicago on Tuesday, August 2, 2011. (Terrence Antonio James/ Chicago Tribune)

From Vietnam War student protester to environmental, housing and transportation activist, I-GO Car Sharing CEO Sharon Feigon has consistently remained ahead of the curve in her efforts to affect positive, progressive change in the world.

Chicago Tribune business reporter Julie Wernau profiles Feigon in today’s issue. The article provides great insight into how Feigon helped grow I-GO from a small start-up pilot program with just 10 cars and 250 members in 2004 into a leading regional exemplar for nonprofit car sharing worldwide. Readers will learn how Feigon has successfully positioned I-GO as a community-based and environmentally focused alternative to Zipcar’s for-profit, monopolistic mission, where she sees I-GO fitting into the emerging clean-energy culture, and the deeply rooted beliefs which have informed those views.

READ THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE ARTICLE »

Four new I-GO car locations

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

nissan_rogueWe have four new vehicles going into service today at new locations. You can find them quickly by entering their vehicle numbers after logging in to I-GO’s reservation system:

Vehicle #4413: gray Nissan Rogue utility, 331 N . Harlem Ave., Oak Park
Vehicle #4451: blue Nissan Sentra sedan, 5000 S. Cornell Dr., Hyde Park
Vehicle #4617: gray Nissan Versa hatchback, 3201 N. Damen Ave., Roscoe Village
Vehicle #4618: silver Nissan Versa hatchback, 946 W. Belmont Ave., Lakeview

Can’t beat that with a glow stick

Friday, August 12th, 2011

Photo courtesy of Chad Smith Photography

With headliners ilke Common, Bassnectar, Lotus, Of Montreal, and Gogol Bordello on the bill, it’s not surprising tickets to the North Coast Music Festival have gone fast. One lucky I-GO member*, though, still has a chance to win a pair of three-day general-admission passes to this fantastic local indie-produced party in Union Park on Labor Day weekend, Sept. 2-4. Send us a 100- to 200-word description that answers this question: “If I-GO was a band, what should it be called and what sort of music would it perform?” Respond by Fri., Aug. 19 with the most creative answer and those tix could be yours!

(You must be an I-GO member to enter this contest.)

Bargain shopping on the GO

Friday, August 12th, 2011


Wouldn’t it be great if your smartphone alerted you to discounts at local shops, restaurants, and more when all you did was walk or drive by them? Say hello to Vidappe, a new mobile app that uses GPS location tracking to send you push notifications for I-GO’s Chi-Town Rewards deals and other discount card programs. Just download the iPhone app or Android app, subscribe to our awesome member benefits program, and when you see a deal pop up on your home screen, show the business your I-GO SmartCard, I-GO/CTA Card, or I-GO Access Tag to receive sweet savings! Got a local biz you’d like to tell fellow I-GOers about? Fill out our Chi-Town Rewards application today.

Sweet roam Chicago

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

fourstarbiketour

Like to bike? We do! I-GO supports multifaceted mobility, and we’re happy to help peddle the latest pedal-powered fundraiser bicycle ride organized by our pals at the Active Transportation Alliance.

Take a spin through Chicago’s neighborhoods for the Four-Star Bike Tour on Aug. 28. Choose from four fun and scenic routes (12-, 22-, 35- and 62-miles) that take you through lush parks, historical architecture and famed landmarks during Chicago’s longest-running annual ride. The 12-mile route participants can also sign up for ATA’s Safe City Cycling to get a bike check, rider leader and biking in traffic instruction. I-GO donates vehicles for the ride for use as SAG (support and gear) cars to pick up tired cyclists and bicycles in need of repair.

Registration includes an event T-shirt, access to rest/water stops and the post-ride festival with live entertainment, food and Goose Island beer. Don’t know about you, but we honk for Honker’s Ale.

I-GO members are entitled to a discount on the registration, too. Save $5 online with promo code IGO5 at www.fourstarbiketour.org.

CNT study uncovers transportation-related costs of D.C. region’s housing

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

I-GO’s parent org, the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), recently released a new study that shows the District of Columbia region’s transportation costs have a major impact on household budgets. The study, compiled with D.C.’s Office of Planning, is the latest data to emerge from CNT’s Housing + Transportation Affordability Index initiative, which measures the true affordability of housing based on its location.

The CNT study found that average household transportation costs in the DC region ranged from $8,500 to as much as $25,000 per year for a typical household. Actual costs can be even lower when the neighborhood enables the residents to live without owning a car. Learn more about the study’s results here.

Since 2006, CNT has applied the H+T Index model to 337 U.S. metro regions. CNT will update the Index later this year using the most recent American Community Survey data from the Census Bureau.

It’s the neighborly thing to do

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

ohsowe_logo_full_color

I-GO was founded on the idea that car sharing is one part of the solution to creating a city that offers a great transportation system that’s convenient and affordable for individuals and helps Chicago reach exemplary environmental performance standards. By allowing people to share instead of owning, our members are able to save money, be relieved from the hassles of owning a car (no more need to keep track of the last time you had an oil change!), and do something great for the environment.

Today, we are excited to announce our partnership with a website that has taken the idea of sharing and expanded it to include the ability to share, well, anything! At www.OhSoWe.com you simply list items you own that you would be willing to let your neighbors borrow, and see what they are willing to share with you. It’s like I-GO, but for everything else, shared amongst your neighbors.

Instead of making a trip to the store to buy a power drill that you’ll use for only a few minutes before it becomes a dust collector, you can easily borrow the drill that your neighbor isn’t using anyway. Another great aspect of the site is that it allows you to share services as well. Are you great at fixing bikes? Offer up your services to your neighbors, and in return perhaps you’ll get an Italian cooking class from a professional chef in your area. The site is user-friendly and completely free to use.

Just as I-GO goes beyond simply sharing a car to working towards building a complete transportation system, OhSoWe goes beyond the sharing of goods and services to help you safely build bonds with your neighbors and increase your quality of life while making your neighborhoods better (and saving the Earth’s resources). Unique features help you communicate with your neighbors, organize events and create a real community (not just a virtual one!).  Visit www.OhSoWe.com today and start sharing!

I-GO and CNT sign EV support statement

Monday, July 18th, 2011

rear_plug_phev_pageOn July 7, more than 180 local and national companies and organizations, including I-GO Car Sharing and the Center for Neighborhood Technology, joined together to show their support for plug-in electric vehicle (EV) policies and infrastructure — demonstrating the groundswell of support in all regions of the country for EV innovation and the types of policies needed to make it successful.

In a joint statement issued by the Sierra Club, the groups called for strong programs on the national, state and local levels to put more plug-in electric vehicles on the road and create more American jobs, less pollution and greater energy security.

“I’m proud to be working for a company committed to supporting oil independence and the emerging EV supply chain,” said Brian Patnoe, Vice President of Fleet Sales at CODA Automotive, a Los Angeles, CA-based electric vehicle and battery company that signed the statement. “As a former Marine, it’s also exciting for me to see successful business opportunities that support a prosperous oil-free future — from CODA’s own parts manufacturers and assembly line workers to electrical workers installing EV chargers and the customers purchasing a whole new type of vehicle.”

“Electrifying the cars, trucks and buses we use every day is one of the smartest economic moves our country can make to reduce its dependence on oil,” stated Chris Cowger, president, Ener1, Inc., an Indiana-based company at the forefront of performance and efficiency-harnessing technologies for utility grid, transportation and industrial applications. “If the country continues to reduce the barriers to electric vehicle adoption, through better incentives and investment, it can generate additional jobs, improve our environment and increase our overall quality of life.”

“Electricity is one of the key alternative fuel sources that will enable the U.S. to reduce our dependence on oil, and electric vehicles present an opportunity for Georgia to lead in a growing industry that is creating jobs,” said Jules Toraya, a former US Army Medical Operations Officer and Platoon Leader and now a Program Manager in the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability at the City of Atlanta. “The City of Atlanta offers the perfect landscape to create, test and scale a successful deployment program for electric vehicles (EVs).”

Several Clean Cities programs working on petroleum reduction programs joined Atlanta on the statement.

“Building the next generation of clean vehicles here in America will create good jobs and help move us to a clean energy economy,” said David Foster, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance. “As we saw with successful Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing incentives, investments in advanced vehicles created thousands of manufacturing jobs throughout the automotive sector and supply chain. Ramping up an electric vehicle fleet will also spur investment in vehicle electrification, creating jobs in construction and accelerating our move to a smart grid—just the kind of investment we need to put people back to work, revitalize our economy and ensure America is competitive in the 21st century economy.”

BlueGreen Alliance labor and environmental partners focused on clean vehicle deployment, including the United Steelworkers, United Auto Workers, Communication Workers of America, Sierra Club and National Wildlife Federation, have signed today’s EV statement.

“Electric vehicle technology is already building jobs in Indiana –but we need to keep up that momentum,” said Barbara Simpson, Executive Director of the Indiana Wildlife Federation, an affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation. “Cars and trucks that cut our dependence on oil, cut pollution, and boost local entrepreneurship and jobs, are a win-win for sportsmen and women and others who care about protecting natural resources and the future of Indiana.”

“Whether they are automakers, smart grid technology companies, electrical workers, environmentalists or just ordinary consumers, Americans are clamoring for electric vehicles,” said Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club.  “By ensuring a strong standard of at least 60 miles per gallon for cars and small trucks in 2025, we will be able to make the switch to electric vehicles sooner, reducing dangerous pollution significantly and helping to break our nation’s dangerous addiction to oil.”

The groups laid out in the statement recommendations for building a robust national EV program, including the following:

  • Expand national, regional, and local efforts such as EV charging stations and infrastructure to support electric vehicles in communities.
  • Remove unnecessary bureaucratic and market obstacles to vehicle electrification nationwide through a variety of policies that
    • bolster nationwide installation of and access to basic charging infrastructure, both at people’s homes and in public places;
    • incentivize the purchase of electric vehicles and EV charging equipment and streamline the permitting application process for EV charging equipment;
    • educate the public about the benefits of EVs and the costs, opportunities, and logistical considerations involved with EV charging infrastructure;
    • ensure appropriate training for workers installing EV charging equipment and for first responders;
    • encourage utilities to provide attractive rates and programs for EV owners and increase off-peak charging;
    • assist in deployment of clean energy, efficiency, and energy management technologies jointly with vehicle charging; and
    • accelerate advanced battery cost reduction by boosting EV use in fleets, in second use, and in stationary applications.
  • Ensure U.S. leadership in manufacturing of EVs, batteries and components, and creating good American jobs.

I-GO joins Gov. Quinn to promote electric vehicles

Monday, July 11th, 2011

quinn_evconf_blog
Standing behind Gov. Quinn as he signs two EV bills into law, from l. to r.: I-GO CEO Sharon Feigon; State Senator Susan Garrett (29th District); Jonathan Goldman, EV Project Manager, I-GO; State Representative Ann Williams (11th District); and State Senator Heather Steans (7th District)

In front of a Greektown Walgreen’s that boasts a new charging station for electric vehicles, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed a pair of bills into law on Saturday designed to increase the use of EVs in Illinois through grants and a new advisory council.

I-GO has been instrumental in fostering EV deployment in the state and advocating for passage of the two bills.

House Bill 2902 puts in place a framework for electric vehicle policy development for the state. The bill creates an Electric Vehicle Coordinator position within the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. This person will serve as the Quinn administration’s point person on all things related to EVs. The bill also creates an Electric Vehicle Advisory Committee, comprised of representatives from environmental organizations, industry and government. The committee will develop policy recommendations that will be shared with the governor and the General Assembly for action.

I-GO CEO Sharon Feigon spoke at the event and shared I-GO's plans to install 18 solar canopy charging stations to power 36 electric vehicles with emissions-free electricity. State Senators Susan Garrett and Heather Steans and State Representative Ann Williams were present as bill sponsors.

Also on hand for the event: an electric-powered bus developed by BYD, a company based in Shenzhen, China. A company official attended the ceremony, and Quinn said he plans to meet with more company officials when he visits China in September. The governor said he’d like to see BYD manufacture the buses in Illinois, which he envisions as an “electric vehicle capital.”

Gov. Quinn signs two electric vehicle bills

Friday, July 8th, 2011
quinn_igo_plugin

Gov. Quinn takes a close look at an I-GO plug-in Prius in 2009 with I-GO and ComEd executives.

Gov. Patrick Quinn signed two bills promoting the use of electric vehicles (EVs) at the Walgreens at 111 S. Halsted (at Monroe) on Saturday, July 9. The Walgreens parking lot currently has an EV charging station.

I-GO has been instrumental in fostering EV deployment in the state and advocating for passage of the two bills. Later this year I-GO will install 18 solar canopy charging stations to power its 36 electric vehicles with emissions-free electricity. Sign up for I-GO to be one of the first in the city to drive an EV. Be sure to follow I-GO on Twitter to stay up to date on the exciting EV project developments.

House Bill 2902 puts in place a framework for electric vehicle policy development for the state. The bill creates an Electric Vehicle Coordinator position within the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. This person will serve as the Quinn Administration’s point person on all things related to EVs. The bill also creates an Electric Vehicle Advisory Committee, comprised of a representative from environmental organizations, industry and government. The committee will develop policy recommendations that will be shared with the governor and the General Assembly for action.

House Bill 2903 amends the Alternate Fuel Vehicle program at Illinois EPA to create a grant opportunity for car sharing organizations to receive funding for the purchase of EVs. The existing program provides rebates to owners of alternate fuel vehicles, using money from a vehicle fleet fee dedicated for this purpose. The program has been underutilized in recent years, and this bill will allow more of the funding to be used to meet the program goals.

HB 2902 was sponsored by Rep. Ann Williams and Sen. Susan Garrett, and HB 2903 was sponsored by Rep. Williams and Sen. Heather Steans.

A lesson in Civic

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

honda civicNeed another reason to get around with I-GO? Here’s one: We’ve added another car in in the Uptown community near the lake.

It’s a blue Honda Civic sedan located at 4750 N. Clarendon Ave.

Nearby residents can log in with their Member ID number at www.igocars.org to reserve it. You can quickly locate it in our online reservation system by entering 4503 in the Vehicle ID search bar.

We hope this provides another helpful, convenient option for you!

Away we tow

Friday, July 1st, 2011

two_town_blogpic

Art is often a moving experience. Sometimes, literally so. On Thursday, June 23, from 6 to 7:30pm, two bright red I-GO Honda Fit cars became part of a conceptual art piece performed outside Columbia College’s A+D Gallery, 619 S. Wabash Ave., as part of its “Running Room” exhibition. Artist Erik Peterson titled the kinetic performance “Two Tow’n.”

“I’m adding a bit of magic back into the urban milieu,” Peterson said. “This avant-garde art piece, referencing the city and its movement, meshes well with I-GO’s local Chicago mission to deliver the forward-thinking, non-profit, urban crowd into the future.”

Pedestrians who happened to be there at the time can be forgiven for wondering if they were seeing double.

The two identical cars were parked on opposite sides of the street outside A+D Gallery, on the 600 block of South Wabash. At 6 p.m. — the time that parking restrictions on the street are lifted — two tow trucks arrived, hitched up the cars, and towed them away. In fact, they drove them around the block only to return and unload the cars, each to the side of the street opposite of where it started.

The idea, Peterson said, was “to upset and subvert the repetition of the cityscape and provide a little humor to the passerby who happen to notice this odd occurrence.”

As for I-GO, which maintains strong relationships and discount programs with Columbia College and many other local campuses, we’re just flattered that an artist thought us worthy of subject matter. We’re thinking of changing our name to Vincent Van I-GO.

Take it or iMiEV it

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

Recently, we’ve had a lot of fun at I-GO HQ test-driving a Mitsubishi i-MiEV — which stands for Mitsubishi Innovative Electric Vehicle. Here’s a photo of it next to our booth at Evanston’s Custer’s Last Stand street fest this past weekend:

imiev_custers

This is our second closeup look at the car. In July 2010, I-GO was among the few places in North America to preview the i-MiEV. It gets up to 100 miles on a full charge of its lithium-ion battery pack, looks like a Pokemon character (if it had cheeks we’d pinch them), and could pretty much fit into any city parking space. Coupled with a progressive car sharing org like I-GO and a metro-wide charging-station network, EVs can make a bigger impact with the public and help I-GO reduce car ownership, greenhouse gas emissions, and dependence on fossil fuels even more.

Did you bike to work today?

Monday, June 13th, 2011

biketowork_cntigoYes, I-GO is in the car biz. But what many might not realize is that we consider car sharing part of a larger sustainable-transportation picture that depends just as much on public transit, your own two feet, and bicycling.

This week, our two-wheeling friends at the Active Transportation Alliance roll out their annual Bike Commuter Challenge. The basic idea is to encourage people to bike to work. ATA doesn’t have to convince us. We’d much rather bike to work than deal with gridlock on the roads or get squashed like sardines on a rush-hour Red Line train car. In fact, I-GO and the Center for Neighborhood Technology proudly compete in the nonprofit category for the Challenge every year, and we’ve even taken home the top prize seven years in a row! Is eight enough? We don’t think so! Our employees saddle up year-round, but this week, we go the extra mile.

ATA makes biking to work even more enticing with bike pit stops providing free air, chain lubes, and coffee. Check out their site for more details.

Beat a path to Andersonville for I-GO

Friday, June 10th, 2011

The summer fest season is in full swing again (woo-hoo!) and that means so, too, is the I-GO street team. While the drinks, music, and high spirits are flowing, so are the membership discount deals we like to serve up at the I-GO booth. If you’re not yet a member — or know someone who should be saving the sort of scratch you are as a card-carrying car-sharing advocate — head to Andersonville this weekend for the Far North Side hood’s awesome annual Midsommarfest. You’ll find us busking for car-sharing along Clark Street, from Foster north to Catalpa, and if that’s not enough to make you shake and shimmy, maybe a dose of headliner Chicago Afrobeat Project will do the trick. We think Fela Kuti himself would dig these local groove masters.

A plug(in) for Uncommon Ground

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

If you haven’t been to Uncommon Ground in Edgewater yet, here’s some motivation for the alternative-mobility mavens. (You know who you are!) The eco-awesome UG’s annual alternative-transportation–themed Green Room Session always features some cool clean-energy rides and innovators.

Here are the details:
Green Room Sessions – Alternative Transportation Fair
Uncommon Ground
1401 W. Devon Ave.
6-8pm

Chicago Biofuels, Climate Cycle, Plug-In Vehicle Solutions, and the Midwest High Speed Rail Association will be on hand. Us? We’ll be making googly eyes at a Nissan Leaf in our plug-in Prius.

We’ll also be offering discount I-GO memberships, so if you know someone who’s been considering joining I-GO, bring them along and we’ll set them up with a sweet deal!

Here are some pix we snapped at last year’s version:

Three for all!

Friday, May 27th, 2011

I-GO just added three awesome new cars to its fleet! And that’s not all: two of them — a Nissan Altima sedan and a Nissan Rogue compact SUV — are brand-new vehicle types for I-GO members’ car-sharing pleasure. Here they are, hot off the assembly line:

nissan_versa_black_smallHyde Park
2011 Nissan Versa (black), vehicle ID# 4612
5496 S. Hyde Park Blvd.(new location at Mayfair Apartments!)

nissan_altima_small
Downtown
2011 Nissan Altima (blue), vehicle ID# 4614
217 W. Washington St. (new location!)

nissan_rogue_smallOak Park
2011 Nissan Rogue (red), vehicle ID# 4613
833 S. Euclid Ave.

Pedal power!

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

igo_bikethedrive

Saddle up with the I-GO Team at this year’s Bike the Drive on Sunday, May 29!

We’re organizing a group of riders from the I-GO staff and membership to meet up at Jackson & Columbus at 8 a.m. and two-wheel our way along a car-less Lake Shore Drive. You’ll get a free I-GO T-shirt, meet fellow eco-minded folks and I-GO CEO Sharon Feigon, and help spread the good word on car sharing!

The event benefits our pals at the Active Transportation Alliance, and I-GO members get $5 off registration at www.bikethedrive.org with code IGO5. I-GO is providing support-and-gear cars for the ride, and we’ll have a table at the fun post-ride fest where friends of yours can join I-GO at a special discount. Click the button below to let us know you’ll be joining us!

Saddle up

The fuel, the proud, the I-GO team

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Saving money on gasAs gas prices go through the roof, everyone is flipping out — except for I-GO members. The cool kids of car sharing never pay for gas.

Fuel efficiency and low-emission standards are a driving force at I-GO. Our entire fleet meets that criteria, and we’re always looking for more ways to lower our carbon footprint and costs. Here are a few ways you can help us make an even bigger difference:

  1. When you need to fill the gas tank during your next trip, refuel with 87 octane.
  2. If you have a web-enabled mobile device, try using an app like GasBuddy to locate nearby stations with the lowest prices.
  3. Check out the new gas slider tool on Abogo, a site developed by our colleagues at CNT, that shows how rising gas prices could affect household transportation costs at a given location.
  4. Don’t keep I-GO a secret! Tell your friends about us and help them save more moolah too. For every new I-GO member who lists you as a reference on their application, we’ll add $20 in free driving to your I-GO account.

Spread the word enough and you just might be driving for next to nada. And that’s definitely something to get pumped about.

Fuel up a friend

Reader offering discount tix to Green Fest today

Friday, May 6th, 2011

greenfest_igo1_2010The newly redesigned Chicago Reader is doing Groupon-style deals now. (Who isn’t these days?) We’re happy to help them pitch today’s Real Deal: $5 instead of $15 for one-day admission to the awesome Green Festival on May 14 or 15 at McCormick Place.

Haven’t heard about Green Fest? Learn more here.

Why? Because I-GO will again have a super-fun booth at the fest, which is a treasure trove of green goods, services, workshops, ethnic crafts and clothing, and savory veggie chow. It’s our fave fest of the year, and we’ll be dishing out something special too: discounted I-GO memberships.

So buy that ticket, check out this fun, enlightening, eco fair, and sign yourself or someone else up for the coolest car-sharing org in town: I-GO!

Hope to see you there!

High gas prices make I-GO better option, reports Red Eye

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

gaspump_dollarsToday’s Red Eye continues the paper’s coverage bemoaning the escalating cost of gas in Chicago. Prices here have soared to record highs and are convincing more Chicagoans that public transit and car sharing are preferable options to owning a car. Members of I-GO Car Sharing, Chicago’s only nonprofit car sharing organization, pay low hourly fees for cars whenever they need them, but NEVER pay for gas!

And that is a huge advantage to joining I-GO, which maintains a varied, fuel-efficient fleet of more than 200 cars throughout the city and four suburbs.

I-GO expands presence in Bridgeport

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Bridgeport_ribboncuttingI-GO, Chicago’s only local, non-profit, car sharing company, is excited to announce the addition of its second Bridgeport location. A 2011 Red Nissan Sentra is now available in the parking lot at 3263 S. Halsted Street.  This is in addition to a Blue Honda Fit located at the Halsted Stop on the Orange Line.  And there are even more I-GO locations nearby in Pilsen, University Village, IIT and in 35 Chicago neighborhoods and 4 suburbs including Evanston and Oak Park.

To celebrate this Bridgeport expansion, join I-GO, 11th Ward Alderman James Balcer and Bridgeport business and community leaders and help us “launch” our new Bridgeport car on Thursday, April 28th at 11am at 3263 S. Halsted St. Then join us for food and refreshments at Nana Organic right across the street.

I-GO is offering new membership applicants a special discount: join now for only $25 and also receive $10 in free driving (a total of $60 in savings). Just enter the promotion code BRIDGEPORT25 in the “Promotions” section of the online application form.  To apply for membership, go to www.igocars.org and click on JOIN TODAY (offer expires 12/31/11). If you’re already a member, share this email with someone that you know. If they join and enter your name in the referral field, you get $20 in free driving!

I-GO cars can be reserved by members by the hour or day, anytime of day or night.  Members can make a reservation from their computer, smart phone, or by calling I-GO’s 24-hour Member Services Department.  Rates start as low as $6.75 an hour (some restrictions may apply).

Hourly rates include gas, insurance, a reserved parking space and all vehicle maintenance! I-GO’s 15,000+ members have access to over 220 low-emission vehicles including dozens of hybrids and even plug-in hybrids. Use I-GO for your grocery shopping and errand running, to get to appointments and sports practices, and a myriad of other uses.

“Renting a van is always a hassle and costs too much.  With I-GO, you can rent right in the neighborhood for only as long as you need,” says Maureen Sullivan of South Loop Digital.

Members may choose either a standard I-GO smart card that accesses every car in I-GO’s fleet or the new Chicago Card Plus/I-GO Card, a joint initiative between I-GO and CTA that accesses I-GO cars, CTA trains and buses, and Pace buses—effectively expanding the range of public transit.  You can learn more at http://igocars.org/chicago_card_plus

Car sharing helps individuals and families reduce their automotive costs by thousands of dollars a year compared to the cost of owning a car (or a second car).  I-GO is an affiliate of the Center For Neighborhood Technology, a 30 year old Chicago-based “think and do tank” that promotes urban sustainability.

How low can you Abogo?

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

abogo-logoHow will rising gas prices affect the cost of transportation where you live?

The Center for Neighborhood Technology has launched a new tool on its Abogo® website that shows how rising gas prices could affect household transportation costs at a given location. Users can type in an address to see average transportation costs for a neighborhood and then select a gas price to calculate how it would affect transportation costs at that location. Auto-dependent locations see their transportation costs increase dramatically as prices move up along the slider, but transit-rich locations have more modest increases.

Abogo recently analyzed the exorbitant gas prices in the Chicago metro area and surrounding region. At a whopping $4.25 per gallon on average, Chicago’s fuel costs are the highest of any city in the nation right now.

Want to lower your transportation costs? Join I-GO Car Sharing! I-GO members spend roughly $2,520/year on average for transportation compared to car owners.

In fact, the Abogo folks feel so strongly that everyone reading this post should sign up for I-GO that they walked downstairs (I-GO is an affiliate of CNT) and asked for a special deal for you!

Enter promo code ABOGO on your application when you sign up with I-GO and you’ll pay just $25 (a savings of $50). Plus, we’ll throw in $10 in free driving to get you started off down the road to car-sharing nirvana.

Try it for a year, and renew your membership for just $25!

And remember to take transit when possible, and make sure your boss is enrolled in pre-tax transit benefits that can save you and your employer money. Check out Abogo’s additional resources on how to lower transportation costs.

Fleet expansion update: A perfect ten!

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

nissan_sentra_smaller
Spring has sprung, and I-GO cars are sprouting all over town. We’re adding ten new vehicles to the fleet this week!

Meet the new kids on your block:

  • 7138 N Sheridan Rd.: 2011 gray Nissan Sentra sedan, vehicle ID# 4465
  • 5516 N. Clark St. (Jewel parking lot): 2011 gray Nissan Versa hatchback, vehicle ID# 4507
  • 2020 W. Evergreen: 2011 red Nissan Sentra sedan, vehicle ID# 4565
  • 2350 N. Racine Ave.: 2011 gray Nissan Sentra sedan, vehicle ID# 4611
  • 1809 E. 17th St.: 2011 red Nissan Sentra sedan, vehicle ID# 4581
  • 4540 N. Campbell Ave. (Waters Elementary School parking lot): 2011 gray Nissan Versa hatchback, vehicle ID# 4461
  • 3053 W. Montrose Ave.: 2011 black Nissan Versa hatchback, vehicle ID# 4474
  • 2293 N. Milwaukee Ave.: 2011 black Nissan Versa hatchback, vehicle ID# 4491
  • 2036 W. North Ave.: 2011 black Nissan Cube utility, vehicle ID# 4457
  • 3263 S. Halsted St.: 2011 red Nissan Sentra sedan, vehicle ID# 4603

Go ahead. Take one out for a spin. Show ‘em the sights. They’re anxious to meet you.

Convenient. Affordable. Green. That’s what we’re all about. And now you’ve got ten more reasons to spring into action with I-GO.

I-GO Car Sharing: Already a Public Offering

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

CHICAGO—I-GO Car Sharing, Chicago’s first and only non-profit car-sharing organization, has formally announced its long-time status as a community-based “public offering.” I-GO went public at its inception in 2002, providing the public a convenient, affordable transportation alternative to auto-ownership. I-GO views itself as an extension of the public transit system, and it is the only car sharing organization in North America that has partnered with a local transit authority to offer a smart card that gives its 15,000 members access to both transit and car sharing vehicles.

“We provide an important public service that enhances mobility options while creating sustainable communities,” said Sharon Feigon, CEO of I-GO, an affiliate of the 32-year old Chicago-based Center for Neighborhood Technology. “We have nothing against Wall Street; we’re just more focused on places like Broadway and Lawrence and 53rd and South Lake Park.”

A typical I-GO member spends about $2,500 per year on transportation, roughly $5,000 less than the annual cost of owning a car. I-GO has more than 200 cars in 35 neighborhoods throughout the city and four suburbs that get users where they need to go without worrying about today’s escalating gas prices. Members pay for cars by the hour (about $8.50), and gas is included in the hourly fee (as is insurance).

I-GO is committed to pushing the car sharing industry to be as sustainable as possible. I-GO’s cars are all fuel efficient, and the organization will soon add roughly 30 electric cars to its fleet that don’t use gasoline at all. This spring, I-GO will install 15 solar canopies to power its electric vehicles with emissions-free electricity.

MEDIA INQUIRIES: To speak to I-GO CEO Sharon Feigon about I-GO or other car sharing businesses that are going public, contact Emily Robinson at erobinson@cnt.org or (773) 269-4043.

CNT & I-GO host Green City Living open house

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Green City Living Open House
Wednesday, April 20, 5-8pm
Center for Neighborhood Technology, 2125 W. North Ave.

Learn about the green efforts by CNT, CNT Energy and I-GO Car Sharing to create affordable, sustainable communities at an open house at our offices in Wicker Park. Learn what you can do to live sustainably in the city inside and outside your home as well as when you’re on the road. You’ll pick up energy efficiency tips, information on sustainable transportation options and green landscaping among other things. The free event includes a workshop, information tables, prizes and snacks. For details or to RSVP: (773) 269-4039 or info@cnt.org.

A bicycle built for a view

Monday, April 4th, 2011

I-GO will again provide support-and-gear cars for Bike the Drive, the Active Transportation Alliance‘s awe-inspiring annual fundraiser, on May 29, when thousands of cyclists take over a blissfully car-free Lake Shore Drive for an entire Sunday morning. I-GO members get $5 off registration at www.bikethedrive.org with code IGO5. That’ll snag you a T-shirt and access to rest stops and the post-ride fest, where ATA will dish out breakfast and live entertainment!

Saddle up

New search filters for reservations

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

grn_spprt_key_laptop_webWe’ve added a few bells and whistles to our reservation system you’ll find helpful when planning your next I-GO trip:

  • A brief location/lot description is included in your reservation confirmation email when booking a new trip if you choose to receive email confirmations. (You can manage notifications in the Preferences section under My Account after logging in.)
  • There are two new filtering options when searching for a vehicle. Selecting “My time is flexible” will display vehicles only partially available during the time selected so you can adjust the time frame to reserve the desired car. Selecting “Include unavailable vehicles” will display vehicles that have been booked out so you see at a glance that your preferred car is in use during the time/date selected.

Green machines

Monday, March 28th, 2011

leaf_carkey_smallerI-GOers reduce car ownership and CO2 emissions by using our fuel-efficient cars and driving only when necessary. Your carbon footprint will shrink even more in 2011 as I-GO’s fleet expands with more low-emission cars and electric vehicles powered by renewable energy! Our plans include charging stations powered by solar canopies. Sun, sun, sun, here we come. Stay tuned for updates as this awesome initiative develops. Meanwhile, we’ve added a Green Driving Tips page to our website that provides helpful info on maximizing your energy conservation right now.

Drive smart

I-GO’s Earth Month events

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

car_planet

I-GO participates in and supports community-based events year-round throughout the Chicago area. We invite you to drop by, say hi, and bring a friend to sign up for an I-GO membership. We’re usually offering special discounts on memberships at these events, so it’s a great way to lend your support and get a great deal at the same time!

April is almost here and green scenesters know what that means: Earth Month action!

I-GO will have a booth set up at all these awesome Earth Month 2011 activities. If you’re interested in making a difference for the environment (you should be!), these events are an ideal way to get involved and learn about all sorts of ways to go green.

Chicago’s greenest home

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Talk about taking the LEED on building a green home. Way to go, Jacek! Here’s a net-zero prototype that sets the bar high but is certainly worth emulating everywhere. Check out the coverage on Fox TV:

Edgewater Home Called Greenest, Most Energy Efficient in Chicago: MyFoxCHICAGO.com

Three ways to fight high gas prices

Friday, March 18th, 2011

refueling_pumpThe Chicago Community Loan Fund offers three suggestions for battling soaring prices at the pump on its Building for Sustainability blog. One’s I-GO (ahem, thank you) and another is Abogo, a clever online calculator developed by our colleagues at the Center for Neighborhood Technology that assesses the costs of transportation relative to where you live.

I-GO membership, of course, includes gas, insurance, reserved parking spaces, and maintenance for all our cars.

I-GO is on Groupon!

Monday, March 14th, 2011

I-GO Car Sharing is the Groupon Daily Deal in Chicago today!

For just $30, Groupon buyers get a one-year I-GO membership (GO Standard or GO Standard Plus) AND $30 in free driving.

It’s a $105 value and — needless to say — a great opportunity to join I-GO at a huge discount or, if you’re already a member, to tell a friend who’s been thinking about joining. (Members earn $20 in free driving for every new member who names them as a referral source on their application.)

Help us spread the word about this great deal that supports Chicago’s only local, non-profit, environmentally focused car sharing organization!

Bright turn only

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Solar highways made from glass? Beam us up, Scotty.

$10 for a gallon of gas? We’ll pass.

Monday, March 7th, 2011

gas_dollars
Neither I-GO nor Jumpin’ Jack Flash find this not-so-hypothetical possibility to be such a gas, gas, gas. All the more reason to choose car sharing as your main mode of getting around: I-GO members don’t pay for gas when they use our vehicles.

This frightening scenario — posited in a MSN Money blog post — is a current reaction to the increasing cost of fuel at the pump. But it’s also a long-range reality, considering that many experts believe the fossil-fuel production of petroleum likely peaked around 2006 or so and from here on out will begin a long, slow, inexorable decline.

Again, all the more reason to turn to companies like I-GO. We’re working hard on adding electric vehicles to our fleet that will be coupled with charging stations throughout Chicago.

Chicago releases Bike 2015 plan

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

cbp_logo_med1
As an environmentally minded company with a mission to support a healthy mixture of sustainable transportation, I-GO Car Sharing wholeheartedly backs the City of Chicago Department of Transportation‘s newest bike plan.

Details of the plan were released yesterday. Here are the primary objectives, as summarized on the Bike 2015 site:

“The Bike 2015 Plan has two overall goals:

  • To increase bicycle use, so that 5 percent of all trips less than five miles are by bicycle.
  • To reduce the number of bicycle injuries by 50 percent from current levels.

The plan has eight chapters, each with a specific goal:

  • Bikeway Network – Establish a bikeway network that serves all Chicago residents and neighborhoods.
  • Bicycle-friendly Streets – Make all of Chicago’s streets safe and convenient for
    bicycling.
  • Bike Parking – Provide convenient and secure short-term and long-term bike parking throughout Chicago.
  • Transit – Provide convenient connections between bicycling and public transit.
  • Education – Educate bicyclists, motorists, and the general public about bicycle safety and the benefits of bicycling.
  • Marketing and Health Promotion – Increase bicycle use through targeted marketing and health promotion.
  • Law Enforcement and Crash Analysis – Increase bicyclist safety through effective law enforcement and detailed crash analysis.
  • Bicycle Messengers – Expand the use of bicycle messengers; improve their workplace safety and public image.”

Transportation Nation weighs in on Rahm

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

transportation_nation_logo

I-GO CEO Sharon Feigon was part of a meeting with Chicago Mayor-Elect Rahm Emanuel and several transportation and public transit officials about a month ago.

Transportation Nation, a blog that pools the resources and views of public radio newsrooms and their listeners to present a progressive spin on sustainability, recently posted an item on the gathering. It sneak-previews Emanuel’s POV on green mobility and includes quotes from Feigon, who offers her own first impression on how Emanuel assesses the issue.

Chicago named Smarter City by National Resources Defense Council

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New Study Identifies Top 15 Metro Regions Leading in Transportation Innovation

NRDC’s Smarter Cities Project Reveals How Cities Across the U.S. are Raising the Bar for Affordable and Accessible Public Transit

New York, NY (February 23, 2011) – Today Natural Resources Defense Council’s Smarter Cities project released a transportation study identifying 15 metropolitan regions with the nation’s leading transportation policies and practices. The study, created in collaboration with the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) — the organization which launched I-GO Car Sharing in 2002 — compares and profiles U.S. regions based on public transit availability, use and cost; household automobile ownership and use; and innovative, sustainable transportation programs.

“Innovative transit policies not only benefit the environment, but they also add richness to urban life by making city attractions and neighborhoods more accessible,” said Paul McRandle, Senior Editor of NRDC’s Smarter Cities Project. “By enhancing regional transportation programs we can improve our quality of life, boost our local economies, reduce air pollution and even benefit public health by making biking and walking safer and more enjoyable for commuters.”

The 15 metro regions identified as ‘Smarter Cities’ for transportation include:

- Seven large regions (> 1 million people): Boston; Chicago; Philadelphia; Portland, Oregon; New York, San Francisco, and Washington D.C.

- Four medium regions (250,000-1 million people): Boulder-Longmont, Colorado; Honolulu, Hawaii; Jersey City, New Jersey; and New Haven, Connecticut.

- Four small regions (< 250,000 people): Champaign-Urbana, Illinois; Bremerton, Washington; Lincoln, Nebraska; and Yolo, California.

The transportation study is the second to be released by NRDC’s Smarter Cities project, which aims to inspire cities, municipalities and regions nationwide by recognizing and profiling what leading metropolitan regions are doing to make themselves more efficient, sustainable, and livable. The data underlying the 15 cities’ transportation profiles was drawn from the U.S. Census and CNT’s H+T® Affordability Index that quantifies household transportation costs by location.

“By and large, ‘location efficient’ places – with essential services that are nearby or accessible by many transportation modes – lower transportation costs for residents,” said Scott Bernstein, president of CNT. “Cities and regions that foster compact, walkable, transit-rich communities can reduce reliance on automobiles and help lower at least one expense for households struggling to get by in the current economy.”

Highlights from the study include:

- About 98 percent of Jersey City, New Jersey residents live within a half mile of public transit access; only 60 percent own or have access to a car.

- In downtown Boston, around 65 percent of trips during peak hours are non-motorized due in large part to the city’s Complete Streets initiative, launched in 2009, to create streets that integrate pedestrians, cyclists and public transit with motorists.

- Philadelphia has selectively expanded the city’s public transit system in certain neighborhoods to increase residents’ access to fresh food.

- Boulder, Colorado, has built paved pathways along Boulder Creek that allow walkers and bikers to travel up to 52 miles without ever having to cross traffic.

- Washington, D.C.’s Capital Bikeshare program has made more than 1,100 bikes available for pick up at solar-powered docking stations throughout the city and Arlington County.

The full study, with individual city profiles, can be found at: http://smartercities.nrdc.org/topic/transportation/americas-smartest-regions-transportation

ABOUT

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 1.3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, its lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Livingston, Montana, and Beijing.

Smarter Cities, an NRDC project, aims to be an online resource for and about cities striving to make themselves “smarter” – more efficient, sustainable, equitable and livable. NDRC provides for all those with a stake in their city’s future—from students to policy makers and city planners, from business leaders to community groups and urban dwellers—in-depth analyses of what leader cities are doing, as well as extensive toolkits to the best practices, model policies and programs, incentives and innovations that they are piloting.

Founded in 1978, CNT, which launched I-GO Car Sharing in 2002, is a Chicago-based think-and-do tank that works nationally to advance urban sustainability by researching, inventing and testing strategies that use resources more efficiently and equitably. Its programs focus on climate, energy, natural resources, transportation, and community development.

Illinois charges ahead with EV infrastructure

Friday, February 18th, 2011

casevs_quinn_igo

“We’re going to have electric vehicles galore in the state of Illinois,” said Illinois Govenor Pat Quinn at the Chicago Auto Show today, during a press conference to announce electric-vehicle plans for Chicago and the state. “We want to be the nation’s capital for electric vehicles.”

Also present at the event: Sharon Feigon, CEO of I-GO Car Sharing (above, far right); Dan Gabel, ComEd’s manager of electric vehicles; and Mariana Gerzanych, chief executive of 350Green LLC, the San Diego company awarded the approximately $2 million contract for the initial widespread installation of 280 EV charging stations throughout Chicago.

Seventy-three of the charging stations will offer quick-charging capacity, and will be able to charge a vehicle in less than 30 minutes. Illinois will have the largest number of fast-charging stations in the country once the $8.8 million project is complete.

I-GO Car Sharing, an environmentally focused nonprofit org, has been working closely with city government to bring the initiative to fruition. I-GO will have 36 EVs at 36 electric charging stations dedicated to its car sharing vehicles. This spring, I-GO is taking the green EV project a step further by installing solar canopies at 15 stations so its electric fleet will run on clean solar power. I-GO’s EV program began in January 2009 with the addition of two plug-in electric Priuses to its fleet.

Photo & Video Contest: Win free driving prizes!

Monday, February 14th, 2011

candy_heart_igoforyouAccording to the I-GO constitution, you have the right to bear charms. Specifically in the form of photo & video submissions for the Valentine contest we’re presenting to you with a lovely bouquet of free driving credit prizes.

We’re calling it: “Show Your I-GO Love.” Here’s how it works:

Email a photo or short video to valentine@igocars.org that demonstrates “I-GO love” in some way. Be creative in your interpretation. We won’t disqualify you for kissing a Honda Fit. (Might want to give it a quick wipe-down first.) But we’d rather see how I-GO brings a little love & joy into your life. Do you deliver cupcakes in a Honda Odyssey? Take your daughter to ballet practice in a Ford Focus? Salsa over to the dance club in a Toyota Prius?

Go ahead and shoot those pix and vids on your fancy smartphones if you want. We’re not handing out Oscars here. Just keep the videos brief (2 minutes tops) so they’re easy to email and download. (If you want to get all Martin Scorsese about it, though, you may want to send your video via a file-sharing app instead.) Deadline for submissions is Monday, February 28.

The first prize winner gets $100 in driving credit added to their I-GO account. Second prize = $50 in driving credit. Third prize = $25 in driving credit.

Plus, we’ll publish the results on our website, Facebook and Flickr pages, and YouTube channel, and in the next newsletter. We don’t know if that qualifies as 15 minutes of fame. But it’s a whole lotta car-sharing love where we come from and sure beats a box of chocolates.

I-GO part of Chicago’s EV charging station plans

Friday, February 11th, 2011
sharon_imiev_plug

The Chicago Tribune’s Julie Wernau recently covered the city’s near-term plan to bring electric vehicles (EV) and infrastructure to Chicagoans.

I-GO Car Sharing (an affiliate of Chicago’s Center for Neighborhood Technology) has been working hand in glove with city government to bring the initiative to fruition. I-GO will have 36 electric charging stations dedicated to its car sharing vehicles. This spring, I-GO is taking the green EV project a step further by installing solar canopies at 15 stations so its electric fleet will run on clean solar power.

I-GO has been test driving electric car models as they have come available. We tried out the Mitsubishi iMiEV last summer, and we also test drove the THINK City, Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt in 2010. I-GO is also working closely with Ford to test out its Focus EV and Transit Connect vehicles.

Not yet an I-GO member? You’ll have a great opportunity to explore these cutting-edge EV options for yourself by joining I-GO today.

$2/hour discount on I-GO cars in February!

Monday, January 31st, 2011
Savings at I-GO are about to get twice as nice.
I-GO Discount Car Program
Throughout February, we're increasing the hourly-rate discount on vehicles in I-GO's Discount Car Program from $1 to $2! While we're at it, we'll also offer twice as many discount cars as usual in all of our city and suburban neighborhoods.

Here's the deal:

  • From Feb 1 to Feb 28, 2011,* I-GO will designate select vehicles of all types as discount cars in each of our 35 Chicago neighborhoods, Evanston, Oak Park, Wilmette, and Skokie.
  • The hourly rate for discount cars will be $2 less than what you’d normally pay for a particular vehicle type on a weekday or weekend based on your driving plan.**

Reserving a discount car is as simple as 1-2-3:

  1. Log in to the reservations system on www.igocars.org.
  2. Check the box next to the dollar sign and “Discount” under Amenities.
  3. Select your preferred location/address and click the Search button.

Now, go ahead and pocket those two bucks you just saved, and give yourself a pat on the back for driving smart with I-GO.

Happy driving!
The I-GO Team

* The special $2 discount pricing applies only to trips taken from Feb 1-28, 2011. It does not apply to reservations made during this time for trips scheduled after Feb 28, 2011.

** The $2 discount pricing does not apply to 24-hour day-rate vehicle reservations, reservations made any time between midnight and 6am (already discounted at $4/hour), or Mon-Thurs 9pm-7am overnight reservations (already discounted at $29).

I-GO part of new global car-sharing association

Monday, January 24th, 2011

carsharing_assoc_logoChicago’s I-GO Car Sharing is among the founding members of a new international car-sharing association that announced its formation on Monday, January 24, 2011.

Eighteen car-sharing organizations from around the world have announced formation of an association that sets the ethical, social and environmental bar for the car sharing industry. The driving principles of the new CarSharing Association (CSA) focus on environmental and social impact and responsibility, education, research and ethical practices.

Learn more »

I-GO goes to Detroit: Day 2

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

I-GO’s Electric Vehicle Project Manager, Jonathan Goldman is plugged into the EV displays and demos at this week’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit. We’ve asked him to snap some pix and captions for us as he makes the rounds. Here’s Jonathan’s spin on Day Two:

The Li-ion Motors Wave II, which won the Automotive X Prize for most fuel-efficient vehicle: 187 mpg equivalent!

The Li-ion Motors Wave II, which won the Automotive X Prize for most fuel-efficient vehicle: 187 mpg equivalent!

The Prius plug-in hybrid will be available in 2012.

The Prius plug-in hybrid will be available in 2012.

The Toyota Rav 4 Electric will also be out next year. It's a partnership between Toyota and Tesla, which will supply batteries and other components.

The Toyota Rav 4 Electric will also be out next year. It's a partnership between Toyota and Tesla, which will supply batteries and other components.

Honda Fit electric concept car.

Honda Fit electric concept car.

Chicago number one in road congestion

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Chicago-Traffic-Jam

As if we needed more incentive to promote car sharing, public transit, bikes, and your own two feet. A new study by the Texas Transportation Institute ranks Chicago as the worst city in the U.S. in terms of road congestion. The Chicago Tribune plastered the grim news on its front page today.

Car sharing’s number-one goal has always been to reduce the number of cars on the road. I-GO has estimated through its own studies that one I-GO shared vehicle replaces up to 17 owned vehicles on our streets. Fewer wheels on the road also reduces our dependence on non-renewable fossil fuels and the amount of CO2 spewed from tailpipes.

Consider these numbers we’ve gathered from our own member survey research:

I-GO’s Impact in 2010

  • Fleet averaged 36 MPG (exceeds 2016 CAFE standards )
  • Reduced vehicle miles traveled (VMTs) by 120 million miles
  • Reduced CO2 emissions by 45,000 metric tons
  • Saved members $48 million

Car sharing isn’t just part of the solution. It’s become a vital necessity. Help us spread the message!

I-GO goes to Detroit

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Jonathan Goldman, I-GO’s Electric Vehicle Project Manager, arrived in Detroit today to check out the North American International Auto Show. I-GO added two plug-in hybrid electric Priuses to its fleet in 2009. Since then, we’ve been exploring our EV options even more as the electric-car industry is poised to go mainstream in a big way. We’ve plugged in Mitsubishi iMiEV and THINK City EVs at our office to test-drive, and it seems like every day brings news of another EV charging into the spotlight as more automaker get into the EV game.

We’ve asked Jonathan to send us comments and photos as he makes the rounds in Detroit. Here are a few so far:

Ford Transit Connect Electric on the test track. I was able to take a ride — very nice!
Ford Transit Connect Electric on the test track. I was able to take a ride — very nice!
Ford has a major display set up around electric vehicles, including a test track. Here's the Focus Electric on the track.
Ford has a major display set up around electric vehicles, including a test track. Here’s the Focus Electric on the track.
Volvo will be releasing the C30 Electric in 2012.
Volvo will be releasing the C30 Electric in 2012.

THINKing for ourselves

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

Designed in Scandinavia, originally funded by Ford, manufactured for the U.S. market in Elkhart, Indiana. THINK describes its bite-sized City EV as an all-electric, zero-emission car for fleet applications and urban commuters. We’ve got one plugged in at the I-GO office currently to test out. We’ll let you know what we THINK.

Even squirrels are nuts about I-GO

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

squirrel_igo_web

Photo by Jim McDermott, I-GO Fleet Assistant

I-GO members share the season

Friday, December 17th, 2010

I-GO’s annual holiday party is our way of saying thanks to our members for supporting Chicago’s only non-profit car sharing organization. They’re the folks who keep us motivated in our mission to curb car ownership and greenhouse gas emissions while providing affordable transportation to a diverse array of communities across the Chicago area.

This year’s party took place December 2 on the 15th floor of the Merchandise Mart, where guests were also given free passes to the Mart’s One of a Kind Show artisan craft bazaar. Party goers enjoyed savory food and drinks, participated in a silent auction and raffle, got the lowdown on I-GO’s plans for 2011, applauded I-GO’s 2010 GreenWorks Awards from the City of Chicago, and a few brave souls even capped off the night with a Michael Jackson-inspired dance-off.

Did we mention the party was free to all?

Local videographer Julie Johnson captured it on video:

There are too many sponsors to thank them all, but we’d like to give a special shout-out to the following for their generous contributions: Merchandise Mart Properties, AEL + Associates Catering, The Artisan Cellar, Sierra Nevada, Apple Rush, Raw Creations, Eli’s Cheesecake, Pop Chips, Specialty Pasta, Christina Frances Photography, Joffrey Ballet, and Hotel Allegro.

Chicago photographer Christina Frances shot the photos we’ve posted as a set on Flickr. You can find her on the web at: christinafrancesphotography.com/

Here’s are the pix. Enjoy!

Save some green with I-GO this holiday!

Monday, December 6th, 2010

holiday_car
This holiday season, go green and save some at the same time with an I-GO membership. Through New Year’s Eve, Friday, December 31, join I-GO for just $25 and receive $25 in free driving!*

To redeem this special holiday offer just enter the promotion code HOLIDAY2010 in the “Promotions” section of our application form. It’s that simple.

This is one gift that really does keep on giving. Because you’ll be trimming your transportation expenses by sharing our eco-friendly diverse fleet of vehicles located across the Chicago metro area. Give yourself the gift of I-GO and never pay for gas or insurance again!

JOIN I-GO TODAY!

* The $25 driving credit must be used within 30 days of membership activation. Membership also requires a small $25 annual renewal fee.

I-GO wins two Mayor Daley’s GreenWorks Awards!

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010
I-GO CEO Sharon Feigon with I-GO's two GreenWorks Awards

I-GO CEO Sharon Feigon with I-GO's two GreenWorks Awards

Envelope please. And the award goes to…I-GO!

Last night, I-GO Car Sharing triumphed at the awards ceremony for Mayor Daley’s GreenWorks Awards 2010. I-GO was honored with The Innovation in Green Business Award, which recognizes “outstanding businesses whose operations, products or services, and employees most consistently and effectively strive to create social, environmental and economic value.”

The accolades didn’t end there. I-GO also earned The Audience Choice Award in the Innovation in Green Business Award.

“We are delighted to receive these awards,” said Sharon Feigon, I-GO’s CEO, who accepted the awards on behalf of I-GO. “We work hard to provide a service that can save our members money and help improve the environment of our city at the same time. These awards reflect the excellent work of our staff on behalf of our members and the important role that our 15,000 members have in making I-GO a successful program. We are especially excited to win two awards and get recognized by both the judges and the audience who voted for us on the second award.”

Wow! What an honor! It’s fantastic and humbling to be recognized for our commitment to environmentally responsible transportation in the Chicago metro area. These awards belong just as much to our thousands of committed members, whose collective efforts have helped make I-GO a progressive non-profit innovator that’s really making a difference for both the environment and members’ pocketbooks.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t also applaud our colleagues at CNT Energy, who picked up The Audience Choice Award in the Sustainable Innovation in the Built Environment category for its Energy Savers program. That category recognizes projects that successfully implement sustainable building and urban design to reduce environmental impact. Congratulations to CNT Energy!

Most importantly, thanks to the City of Chicago, the awards sponsors (Chicago Sun-Times, Mindful Metropolis, and the Chicago Environmental Fund), and all of our members, partners and supporters who’ve been the sheen on our green!

I-GO profiled in Back Office Mechanics

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

I-GO has grown into an influential non-profit car sharing service providing affordable, convenient, green-friendly mobility to dozens of communities across the Chicago metro area. But at its inception, I-GO was a plucky start-up with just a few car locations.

Nancy Wu, a senior manager with Protiviti’s Finance and Accounting Excellence practice in Chicago, recently sat down for an interview with I-GO’s CEO Sharon Feigon and writes about I-GO’s impressive growth and technological development in her Back Office Mechanics blog.

Among the interesting tidbits in the Wu’s article:

  • I-GO began with just four cars — two in Edgewater and two in Hyde Park.
  • Some folks want to drive the electric vehicles I-GO has begun adding to its fleet so badly they’ll bypass the nearest I-GO car and travel to a more distant location just to experience the vehicle.
  • In the old days, when I-GO had just a handful of cars, ignition keys were kept in lock boxes. The member would punch in the code to get to the key. At the end of a trip, the member would write down the usage information on a pad of paper in the car, and someone from I-GO would come and collect these pieces of papers for invoicing.

In case you’re wondering, here’s what those old lockboxes look like:

igo_lockbox

These days, of course, vehicle access is much more high-tech, involving a smartcard system that unlocks the vehicle by means of a windshield-mounted computer-networked RFID system. Yes, we’ve come a long way, baby.

The interview with Sharon Feigon is interesting reading for anyone curious about how I-GO got from point A to point Z. Although, of course, we’ve never been content to rest on our laurels and continue to improve the quality and convenience of our service and its benefits to members.

Book early for the holiday season!

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

holiday_car
Suddenly, the holidays are upon us again. And that means I-GO vehicle reservations are going fast and furious. From now through New Year’s Day is always an extremely busy time of the year for us. For this, we give many thanks. But we encourage I-GO members who are planning to reserve cars during this time to plan their schedules and keep a close eye on the online reservations section of our website. Those slots fill up fast, folks.

You’ll thank yourself later for thinking ahead and reserving now!

I-GO previews Ford’s electric plans

Monday, November 1st, 2010

fordfocusev_jonathan

I-GO CEO Sharon Feigon and I-GO’s EV project manager, Jonathan Goldman (pictured above, test-driving an electric Ford Focus), had the opportunity last week at a preview demonstration in Chicago to check out Ford’s upcoming crop of plug-ins and learn more about its electric vehicle plans.

The event, attended by officials from Chicago’s Department of Environment and ComEd, also included a roundtable discussion with media about how EVs will impact Chicago and necessitate substantial adaptation from the electric grid; a widespread, dense charging station infrastructure; and staggered consumer usage, blogged Chicago Now’s Jill Ciminillo.

The automaker has plans to launch EV models of the Transit Connect commercial fleet truck and the all-new Focus. These will be available at the end of 2011 Ciminillo reports. Ford will also be launching a plug-in hybrid and two new hybrids.

“I-GO is definitely considering the Focus EV for our fleet,” Feigon says, “although the car will not be available for another year. Ford does seem genuinely interested in making Chicago a priority area when they are ready.”

I-GO hosting international car-sharing conference

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

At I-GO, we’re proud of being a mission-based, transit-oriented, non-profit organization. But we’re hardly alone in those categories. Many folks probably aren’t aware that, collectively, these types of progressive regional providers — such as Toronto’s AutoShare and San Francisco’s City CarShare — comprise a significant share of the car sharing market.

cso_greekisles4_smallI-GO is currently hosting a car sharing conference for such providers in Chicago that kicked off yesterday, Mon., Oct. 25, and concludes today. Representatives from more than 20 car-sharing organizations from across North America, and even as far away as Australia, Brazil, and Hong Kong are meeting here to discuss business models, strategy, technology, partnership alliances, and — most of all — better ways to help our members save money and benefit the environment by reducing car ownership. (In the photo at right, that discussion is fueled by the delicious cuisine at the Greek Islands restaurant in Greektown.)

I-GO and these industry colleagues have long offered roaming access to our members, whereby members of one service can use car-share vehicles in other cities without having to apply for another membership or pay sign-up fees. We hope to build upon that program and many more common objectives over the course of our discussions and in the coming months and years.

I-GO named finalist in GreenWorks Awards

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

greenworks_logo

The City of Chicago just named I-GO a finalist in this year’s GreenWorks Awards! We’re nominated for the Innovation in Green Business Award.

We’re also pleased to report that our colleagues in CNT Energy have been nominated as a finalist in the Sustainable Innovation in the Built Environment Award for their CNT Energy Savers program! See you on the podium, pals. (Fingers crossed.)

The Innovation in Green Business Award recognizes “outstanding businesses whose operations, products or services, and employees most consistently and effectively strive to create social, environmental and economic value.” Glad to know we’re scoring high on that trifecta.

Next up: a fast-pitch competition Oct. 26, 6-9pm, at the Merchandise Mart. The general public is invited ($10 admission, $5 for students) to the event, which a great opportunity to mingle with Chicago’s “sustainability elite.” Vote for the winners of the Audience Choice Awards (c’mon, who’s your buddy? I-GO is!), and then join us for a reception in Haworth’s sleek showroom.

Daniel Burnham 2.0

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Big congrats to the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (better known by its acronym CMAP), which studies and implements land-use and transportation planning in the seven-county Chicago area. The agency is one of the recipients of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program. The program supports State, local, and tribal governments, as well as metropolitan planning organizations, in the development and execution of regional plans that integrate affordable housing with neighboring retail and business development.

CMAP will receive $4,250,000 toward implementation of a sweeping regional plan it’s christened “Go to 2040.” And transportation plays a big role in it, as Blair Kamin reported yesterday in the Chicago Tribune, noting that the plan “calls for raising the state gas tax, increasing the region’s slice of the state road funding pie and emphasizing the renovation of existing roads rather than the construction of new ones. The plan also foresees reduced commuting costs, more parks and open space, and more locally grown food to combat inner-city ‘food deserts’ linked to health problems, especially in African-American communities.”

You can read more about Go to 2040 in detail on its website. Or watch this video:

I-GO was present at the announcement event yesterday in Millennium Park. Car sharing will undoubtedly contribute to less congestion on our roads, an important goal stated in the plan. We provided demos of our plug-in Prius that’s parked in the Millennium Park north garage. One of two converted hybrids currently in our fleet, the car gets up to 100 miles to the gallon and is located next to a dedicated charging station that our members use to recharge the vehicle’s powerful battery between trips. I-GO is currently planning to add more electric vehicles to our fleet, which will help us reduce our carbon footprint even more.

We’d also like to mention the hard work our colleagues at the Center for Neighborhood Technology put in on a fantastic online tool they developed, which closely correlates with all this: the Housing + Transportation Affordability Index. The H + T Index is an innovative mapping tool that measures the true affordability of housing by estimating not just the cost of the housing itself, but also the costs of transportation. Using this index you can compare neighborhoods you may be considering based on both housing and transportation costs.

One tasty testimonial

Monday, October 11th, 2010

I-GO member Taylor Mallory is a talented guy. He sings, writes music, acts, and produces a hybrid cooking/music web program whimsically titled Music Burger. We like it cooked well-done and Taylor doesn’t disappoint. Recently, Taylor added an unexpected topping that we’ve enjoyed with relish: a video testimonial in which he sings I-GO’s praises. We’d like to share it with you here. And we encourage everyone to visit Taylor’s website for a taste of Music Burger and his other projects.

Look, ma, no hands!

Monday, October 11th, 2010

google_prius

Artificial intelligence-controlled robot cars? Truth is, indeed, stranger than fiction, reports the New York Times in a recent piece on the Priuses (and one Audi) that Google engineers outfitted with AI software and a sophisticated array of sensors designed to guide the cars autonomously. Google’s test drives of the cars haven’t been publicly announced but they’re an open secret that’s garnered plenty of attention on the web lately. The ultimate goal of the technology? Safer roads, fewer accidents, and improved energy efficiency.

Let’s just hope that, like our computers, these cars don’t “crash” too often. And we also think they’ll have to come up with an alternative expression for “rebooting” — which sounds like you’ve just had your wheel clamped twice for a repeat driving violation.

Marathon street closure alert

Friday, October 8th, 2010

chicago_marathon

We’re proud that two of our own — I-GO’s Scott Adams and CNT’s Anne Evans — are running in this Sunday’s Bank of America Chicago Marathon. The 33rd annual version of this world-class event features world-class athletes, inspiring stories, and widespread charitable efforts that benefit scores of non-profit organizations and causes.

It also means lots of streets will be closed from early morning to late afternoon at various times and locations along the race course.

Please keep this in mind if you are reserving an I-GO car on Sunday that’s located along or near the race day routes. This consideration may also apply if you’re reserving a car today or on Saturday and returning it to its parking location on Sunday.

Be on the safe side: Download this document, which includes a listing of street closure locations and estimated times as well as a map of the marathon route.

If you have any other questions related to such a reservation, please contact I-GO Member Services at (773) 278-4446.

Good luck to all the runners!

I-GO adds new location at Oak Park Village Hall

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

oakpark_villagehall

We’re excited to announce I-GO’s newest Oak Park location at Oak Park Village Hall at 123 W. Madison St. Car #4599, a silver, 2010 Toyota Prius Hybrid, is now located on the Lombard side of the Village Hall parking lot.

I-GO is also offering new membership applicants in Oak Park a special discount: Join now for only $25 and receive $25 in free driving (a total of $75 in savings). To get this special discount, Oak Park residents just need to enter the promo code VILLAGEHALL in the “Promotions” section of our online application form.

Since 2006, I-GO has been making its low-emission car sharing vehicles available to hundreds of savvy Oak Park residents. Besides our newest location at Village Hall, there are three other locations serving Oak Park:

Read all about it

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Check out the newest I-GO newsletter! If you’re not a subscriber on our mailing list, you can read it here.

Maybe this will tempt you: You’ll find out how we’ve just upgraded our mobile reservations site for smartphones.

Since you really should be on our mailing list (wink, wink, nudge, nudge), if you aren’t yet, it’s easy to sign up right here. You’ll receive the latest updates on our car sharing service, interesting profiles on our business members, upcoming community and cultural events we participate in, new cars and locations, and oh so much more.

I-GO profiled in Huffington Post

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Rod Shrader, Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago, blogged about I-GO in the Huffington Post yesterday. He cites the Center for Neighborhood Technology‘s development of our car sharing service as a leading example of “social entrepreneurship,” a significant trend he’s seen gathering speed among the business school students of today. To wit:

“Here in Chicago one of the nation’s most successful ventures in social entrepreneurship was developed through the Center for Neighborhood Technology, which brought the idea of car sharing to the Chicago region. The center’s vision is that everyone deserves access to safe, affordable transportation. By setting up I-Go car sharing, a system of short term car rentals, with easily available cars located throughout the region, I-Go tapped into a lively market and has built a self-sustaining business, with profits plowed back into making the system more widely available. Last year, for example, I-Go innovated a way of combining car sharing and CTA ridership on one smart card, the nation’s first joint venture between a public transit agency and a car sharing service.”

We appreciate the coverage, Rod! And we heartily acknowledge the foresight our colleagues at CNT demonstrated in launching I-GO back in 2002.

Onward!

Bear necessities

Monday, September 13th, 2010

This commercial for the Nissan Leaf electric car — slated to go on sale in the U.S. in December — ought to melt the hearts of even the most stubborn global-warming naysayers. We’re pulling for you, polar bears!

Transportation animation

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

If this isn’t the coolest, cutest video we’ve ever seen promoting electric cars, we don’t know what is.

I-GO expands to 38th Ward at Portage Park

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

I-GO is excited to announce the expansion of its local, non-profit, car sharing program to the 38th Ward!  As part of its ongoing partnership with the Chicago Park District, a red Toyota Prius Hybrid is now located in the Portage Park parking lot at 5456 W. Berteau.

I-GO’s 14,000+ members have hourly access to a fleet of more than 200 eco-friendly cars conveniently located in 35 Chicago neighborhoods and four suburbs. Reservations can be made minutes before you need a car or up to a year in advance from your computer, smart phone, or by calling I-GO’s 24-hour reservation line.  Unlike car rental, there are no lines to wait in, no paperwork to fill out, and our cars can be picked up and returned any time of the day or night and any day of the week (including Sundays and holidays).

Rates start as low as $6.75 an hour or $70 a day and include gas, insurance, a reserved parking space and all vehicle maintenance! (Rates do not include tax and vary depending on pricing plan, car type and day of the week.) I-GO locations on the northwest side now include Portage Park, Avondale, Logan Square, Old Irving, Albany Park and Lincoln Square (Jefferson Park is coming soon).

To celebrate this Portage Park expansion, I-GO is offering Portage Park area residents a special discount: Join now for only $25 and also receive $25 in free driving (a total of $75 in savings). Just enter the promotion code PORTAGE in the “Promotions” section of the online application form. (The offer expires 12/31/10). If you’re already a member, share this email with someone that you know. If they join and enter your name in the referral field on the application, you get $20 in free driving!

When transit, walking or biking isn’t an option, use I-GO for your grocery shopping and errand running, to get to appointments and sports practices on time, or to visit friends and family in the suburbs.  When you need a car by the hour or by the day, I-GO is the answer!

Walk this way

Monday, August 16th, 2010

green_sneakers_webThe Center for Neighborhood Technology, the nonprofit urban sustainability “think and do” tank that hatched I-GO back in 2002, is making waves lately with its Housing + Transportation Affordability Index. The H+T Index is a sophisticated online tool that gives folks the real lowdown on the costs linking transportation and housing.

Today, CNT announced that it is providing its ground-breaking transportation cost information to the popular website WalkScore.com.

CNT also recently launched Abogo, a website that measures what an average household in a neighborhood spends on getting around — including car ownership, car use, and transit use. Read about it on Grist.

Walk Score, which allows users to obtain a “walkability” rating for a specific location based on the number of nearby amenities, is using data from the index to give its users a sense of transportation costs and environmental impact for a neighborhood. Here’s an example. CNT’s H+T Index is the nation’s most comprehensive assessment of household transportation costs by location.

housing-and-transpo-small

“The time and money spent commuting is lost forever,” said Josh Herst, CEO of Walk Score. “By incorporating CNT’s Housing + Transportation Index into our commute reports, we are increasing the transparency of transportation costs and empowering people to make more informed decisions about where they live and work.”

The H+T Index presents housing and transportation cost data for neighborhoods in 337 metro areas, enabling users to compare the relative costs of communities within a region. The H+T Index is a robust transportation model that quantifies household transportation costs using census data, residential density, transit access, employment proximity, and block size. Importantly, the H+T Index illustrates how choosing to live in walkable, transit-connected neighborhood can lower household expenses and one’s impact on the environment.

“When choosing where to live, the housing costs of a neighborhood are readily available, but the costs of getting around are hidden,” said Scott Bernstein, president of CNT. “Our data reveals a neighborhood’s hidden transportation costs and gives people a much better sense of a community’s affordability.”

CNT is making its transportation cost data available through an application programming interface (API), which allows partner sites, such as Walk Score, to integrate average transportation costs and carbon impact with their own content.

“We’re pleased to have Walk Score as our first API partner,” said Linda Young, CNT’s research director. “People need a complete picture of affordability when making important decisions about where to live, and CNT is excited to work with other groups to disseminate this information as far and wide as possible.”

The API provides a link to CNT’s new consumer-oriented website Abogo (Abogo.cnt.org). A combination of the words “abode” and “go,” Abogo allows users to type in an address and find the average transportation costs for a typical household living at that location. Transportation costs include car ownership, gas and transit expenses.

CNT’s H+T research on housing affordability has implications for the nation. Based on a traditional definition of housing affordability — households spend 30 percent or less of their income on housing — seven out of 10 U.S. communities are considered “affordable” for the typical household. But when the definition is expanded to include housing and transportation costs — households spend 45 percent or less of their income on the two expenses — only four in 10 communities are affordable to households earning the area median income. CNT’s data allows users to locate communities that fit their housing and transportation budget.

I-GO plugs into Carbon Nation world premiere

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

carbon_nation_web

One of our plug-in electric cars is located in the Millennium Park garage. But it’ll be above ground in the spotlight during the festivities surrounding the world premiere and free screening of Carbon Nation (pictured above), a new film about climate change solutions by documentary filmmaker Peter Byck. Comedian Hal Sparks will perform, and the big green lug from Shrek the Musical will meander down the green carpet. We’ll be sharing I-GO’s EV plans with visitors, and we hope you’re among them!

Here are the details:

Carbon Nation Celebration
Tues, Aug 10, 7-10pm
Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park
201 E. Randolph St. between Michigan Ave. and Columbus Ave.
Free admission

Yep, free. Our plug-in gets charged, but you won’t.

In the news: I-GO’s electric car plans

Monday, July 26th, 2010

CT  gettingaround-2c_met 0726 km
I-GO CEO Sharon Feigon with the Mitsubishi Innovative Electric Vehicle (iMiEV).

We’ve had a blast at I-GO previewing Mitsubishi’s new i MiEV electric car. It’s not yet available to the American public, but it was parked at our Wicker Park office for a few weeks — enough time for the I-GO and CNT staffs to fall in love with the cute, little bugger.

I-GO has plans to add lots of electric vehicles (EVs) to our fleet by the end of 2011, combined with a network of EV charging stations that will be built around Chicago. Our evaluation so far? Lookin’ good, i MiEV. 100 miles to the gallon on a single full charge works for us. It’s got some pep, a nice turning radius (you could squeeze it into pretty much any parking space), and it’s a smooth, comfortable ride, too, with a surprising amount of space in the back seats and cargo area.

I-GO members got a charge out of the i MiEV too. We invited members to a sneak preview of the car on Tuesday, July 27, at our office.

Want to know more?

Jon Hilkevitch writes about I-GO’s EV plans in the Chicago Tribune.

Mary Wisniewski profiles I-GO’s EV agenda in the Chicago Sun-Times.

Time Out Chicago covers our iMiEV preview event and interviews I-GO CEO Sharon Feigon.

We also posted a few photos of the iMiEV and our member party on Flickr.

And First Business, a syndicated TV news program that airs locally on WCIU, just broadcast a segment on I-GO’s electric car plans.

Take it or i Miev it

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Get a sneak peak at Mitsubishi’s new electric vehicle at a free special event for I-GO members only!

i MiEV at I-GO

WHAT:

I-GO’s i MiEV Demo

WHEN:

Tuesday, July 27, 5:30pm – 8pm

WHERE:

I-GO Car Sharing (at the Center for Neighborhood Technology)

2125 W. North Ave., Chicago, Illinois

(Light snacks & refreshments will be served)

Please RSVP to Lauren@igocars.org with your name and the names of any guests.

Mitsubishi’s adorable, new, zero-emissions electric vehicle (EV) puts the grin in green. It gets up to 100 miles on a full battery charge. Emits only 30% of the CO2 of a gas-powered minicar even when taking into account emissions at the power plants that generate the electricity needed to charge the car. And it costs at least one-third less to drive (or even less, depending on the price of electricity and whether it’s charged during off-peak hours) than a comparable gasoline vehicle. The i MiEV gets its oomph from high-energy-density lithium-ion batteries and a compact, highly efficient motor.

Oh, and it looks like an egg. Or, if Japanese anime is your thing, a Pokemon character. If it had cheeks we’d pinch them.

So why are we telling you this? Because I-GO is one of the few places in North America where Mitsubishi has chosen to demo the i MiEV, currently sold only in Japan. And we’re inviting I-GO members to drop by our office to take a spin.

i MiEV at I-GOAs an environmentally driven nonprofit, I-GO is making plans to add electric vehicles to its fleet. The i MiEV demo is a rare sneak preview of one such EV our members may be driving in the near future. We’d love to hear what you think of it. Your feedback will help us evaluate our EV options.

We’ll also be doling out discounted I-GO memberships at the event. So bring along a friend, family member, coworker, or classmate who’s been contemplating the car-sharing lifestyle. And queue up for a ride around the block in the i MiEV with I-GO CEO Sharon Feigon.

No, you can’t reserve the i MiEV for an I-GO trip — yet. But you can reserve any of the other diverse, low-emission vehicles in our fleet. Half of them are hybrids. Two are plug-in hybrids that also get stratospheric mileage and help reduce our addition to oil and gas.

RESERVE AN I-GO CAR TODAY!

At I-GO, we’re focused on an greener, cleaner tomorrow. Renewable energy and dwindling dependence on fossil fuels. Affordable sustainability. Car sharing is already eco-friendly. Let’s plug in and make it even friendlier.

Sunday afternoon in the park with I-GO

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

I-GO at Margate ParkChicagoans love their parks and justifiably so — the Chicago Park District does an amazing job maintaining a diverse collection of green recreational gems scattered in neighborhoods across the city. I-GO and the CPD have been working together for a long time to bring car sharing to the park employees and nearby residents of several park locations.

With the recent addition of a 2011 Ford Fiesta hatchback (ID# 4453) at Warren Park (6601 N. Western Ave.) in west Rogers Park, I-GO now has cars at seven CPD parks: Ridge, Independence, Margate (pictured above), Kosciusko, South Shore Cultural Center, Warren, and Horner. (Search for them by neighborhood here.) The The all-American Fiesta is, indeed, a party on wheels: It sports voice-activated SYNC technology and Sirius Satellite Radio amenities.

“The important partnership with I-GO Car Sharing allows the Chicago Park District to continue our greening initiative efforts, an important core value at the Park District,” says Brendan Daley, Director of the Office of Green Initiatives at the Chicago Park District. “The Park District recognizes the importance and benefits of having a car sharing program available to our staff, which helps reduce our fleet fuel costs and wear and tear on our vehicles. Additionally, placing I-GO vehicles in some of our parks allows us to provide park patrons an opportunity to be good environmental stewards.”

We heartily agree and think it’s a great example of local green thinkers collaborating to promote a sustainable path toward an even greener, cleaner Chicago.

Want to learn more about the program?

WATCH THIS VIDEO ››