A City that Moves: The future of carsharing in Calgary

With more than 140,000 members registered with our previous car sharing operator, carsharing has proven to be a popular service for Calgarians

Carsharing may still be in Calgary’s future with updates to parking rules and a tiered-fee structure to appeal to a variety of companies.

Carsharing – a business model providing cars available on demand for convenient short rentals – is a valuable part of Calgary’s transportation network and provides several important benefits. In addition to reducing traffic and emission, it reduces and in some cases eliminates the need to purchase or own a car, while continuing to provide the ability to travel by car when needed.Senior Transportation Engineer Eric MacNaughton speaks with reporters following a Transportation & Transit standing policy committee meeting.

Earlier today, the Standing Policy Committee on Transportation and Transit reviewed proposed changes to The City’s Carshare Parking Polices including new parking rules and a three-tiered fee structure for carshare operators.

“Overall our policies are well set up to support carsharing in Calgary. Based on discussions with other cities and several carshare companies, we have identified several adjustments that ensure we are keeping up with best practices,” says Eric MacNaughton, Senior Transportation Engineer.

Here is a round-up of the top changes that are being proposed to our Carsharing Parking Policies:

Tiered pricing for on-street parking

A new three-tiered pricing structure is being offered for operators who want to offer one-way carshare trips. This offers predictability for carshare companies as they plan for the future.

  • Tier 1: The $450 fee per year, per car, for Tier 1 is unchanged from The City’s current policy and allows carshare operators to park vehicles in unpaid and residential permit spaces. Tier 1 does not include the downtown core.
  • Tier 2: costs $840 per year, per car, includes parking in residential, unmetered and metered zones outside of the downtown core.
  • Tier 3: $1440 per year, per car. Allows operators to use on-street parking in all priced areas, in residential areas and in Calgary’s downtown core.

The City will also apply a 50 per cent discount to the annual fees for fully-electric carshare vehicles, consistent with the actions in Calgary’s Climate Resilience Strategy and Electric & Low-Emission Vehicle Strategy.

Posted time restrictions of one hour or greater do not apply to one-way carshare vehicles for any of the tiers.

Carshare vehicles are typically moved multiple times per day, but this policy change provides more flexibility and acknowledges the unique operating model for carsharing.

Reporting and metrics

The City has simplified the data sharing requirements for carshare companies operating in Calgary, bringing it closer to the approach being used with e-Scooter companies. Each carshare operator will report to The City on a quarterly basis to track impacts of carshare on the transportation network and to monitor vehicle clustering.

A complete summary of all proposed changes is available in Attachment 3 – Recommended updates to the Carshare Parking Policy.

How does Calgary measure up to other cities?

The popularity of carsharing in North America has expanded rapidly. In 2003, there were only 30,000 members compared to almost 2 million operating in 2016. So how does Calgary measure up to other North American cities? Eric shares, “our market most closely resembles the North American cities of Denver, Portland and Vancouver.”

Though carsharing currently represents less than one per cent of all travel in Calgary, updating the Carshare Parking Policies allows The City of Calgary to increase transportation choice for our citizens and promotes the increased use of more affordable and sustainable modes of travel.

“Updating our car share policy is a win-win for Administration and for Calgarians. It allows all parties to enjoy the benefits of carsharing while effectively managing carshare parking activity,” said MacNaughton.

Did you know?

  • Carsharing is a service where members have access to a fleet of shared vehicles distributed across the city, providing them with access to a car when needed.
  • The City’s original carshare parking policies were developed and approved by Council in 2015.
  • The Carshare Parking Policies focus on on-street parking as off-street parking arrangements do not have the same impact on the general public.

Studies have shown that carshare members tend to reduce the total amount of driving they do by up to 40 per cent and increase their use of walking, cycling and carpooling.