Vancouver’s Car-Sharing numbers continue to grow with Urban Density

The growing preference for an urban lifestyle has hit record numbers worldwide. The Metro Vancouver area population is expected to grow at a pace of over 35,000 residents per year for the next 30+ years. With this growth comes the natural livability and sustainability challenges such as affordable housing, job development, schooling, and, of course, transportation concerns. 

Vancouver was ranked the second most traffic-congested city in North America, according to the latest 26-city TomTom traffic report. The one market segment that couldn’t be happier to hear the woes carry-on is the perfectly situated Car-Sharing companies of Vancouver. They are definitely seeing growth in their user base and do not have to take the same criticisms that come with congested city travel, like Translink and city taxi companies.

City Council just approved the Transportation 2040 Plan, a vision and framework for transportation decisions over the next 30 years. It outlines strategies that will ease this traffic congestion for all road users and also reduce the need to own a car – great news for the car-sharing industry. The Motor Vehicle section of the plan encourages cycling (of course), the use of public transit, car sharing, and lower emission vehicles. Today, cars are only about 56 per cent of transportation in Vancouver, down from 90 per cent in 1974. Biking in the city has definitely been a factor, which is up 25 per cent since 2008.


@MayorGregor says in 1974 90% ppl traveled by car. Now 56%. Goal is to be at 33% by 2040.

@vantransp2040 – 1 car share replaces 20 cars. 34% never own, and 21% give up car.

Carpooling and ride-sharing have played a big role in reducing the number of cars on the road, spreading the use of a few vehicles among a large number of drivers. The city has stood behind car sharing since their partnership with Modo in 2009.

Side Stat: The City of Vancouver managed to get 585 staff members signed up with Modo and have cut over 20 passenger cars from its fleet of staff vehicles.

The city definitely sees the benefits, but do you? Have you looked into it?

Top 3 Car Share Companies in Vancouver:

Modo: originated in 1996

  • The original Co-Operative Auto Network program in the city
  • Over 7,700 members sharing over 240 vehicles in Metro Vancouver

Zipcar: originated in 2000

  • Second to come to Vancouver, larger variety of vehicles to choose from
  • First-class customer service

Car2Go: originated in 2008

  • Largest of the three
  • Launched in Vancouver late April of 2011

An easy place to start and compare your options would be where you can select your method of travel, map your trip, and find the average cost for each option.

The companies all promote the benefit of access to a car when you need it without the added costs and hassles of ownership, but this isn’t anything new. These programs started popping up throughout Europe over twenty years ago, making their way here more than a decade ago.

They are an option. I hear a lot of positive feedback in the convenience and flexibility they provide. However we choose to get around, there’s no denying that the service proves to be useful in heavily congested cities, where membership numbers to continue to grow. Car sharing is not perfect. A car is a car and it still pollutes. Although we may not immediately see the environmental benefits, it is a step in the right direction and it’s a shift in the mindset that our North American cities need to have.

Do you use the service? Have a favourite company? Would love to hear about it.

Image by colink.