Could Eagle County get a regional car share program by next year?
Avon, Minturn, Vail and Eagle County are in the market for vendors to make one happen
The communities of Avon, Minturn, Vail, and Eagle County are in the market for a vendor to build and launch a regional car share across the valley.
The idea to bring a regional car share program has been on the table for quite some time as it could serve as a solution for parking congestion, greenhouse gas emissions from single occupancy vehicles and transportation equity.
“This program will provide a needed service with multiple sustainability benefits that address social, environmental and economic concerns in the Eagle County region,” said Cameron Millard, the town of Vail’s energy efficiency coordinator.
Millard noted that the need for the program is especially prevalent as the town seeks to increase housing density. A car share program would not only “minimize parking constraints in Vail” as density increases, but provide regional benefits as well.
“The regional approach is an effort to address climate, equity and affordable access to transportation through a viable car share system across Eagle County locations,” Millard said. “The program seeks to reduce vehicle ownership and dependency, providing short-term vehicle use to complement public transportation and offer members an affordable solution to transportation challenges.”
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The goal for the program is to have a fleet of vehicles across Eagle County that residents and visitors “who need the use of a vehicle for short durations and who otherwise might not have affordable and convenient access to a car,” Millard said.
He added that it would also complement other CDOT shuttles and programs — like Pegasus — that transport people to and from mountain communities and the Front Range.
Millard commented that the Eagle County program is hoping to start with at least eight vehicles located in Minturn, Avon, Edwards and Vail. The partner communities are prepared to support the program with things like dedicated parking spots, electric vehicle charging stations, and more.
It’s a model that has been used successfully in Colorado and other resort communities including Aspen for several years, with newer programs launching in Frisco and Breckenridge.
“Car share providers, such as Colorado Car Share, estimate that one car share vehicle can replace nine to 15 privately-owned vehicles,” Millard said.
The benefits of this are significant in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and meeting the county’s climate action goals.
“Inter-county travel — travel to and from Eagle County from other parts of the state and country — are the leading source of ground transportation greenhouse gas emissions for the county, and this program could help reduce that,” Millard said, adding that part of this equation is that car share users tend to drive less, which in turn reduces miles traveled and therefore the greenhouse gas emissions.
Additional environmental benefits could come as the communities hope to also incorporate electric vehicles in the implementation.
Car share programs, as well as carpooling, were included in the town of Vail’s recently adopted Electric Vehicle Readiness Plan. The plan comments that these programs can improve equity and accessibility, especially for electric vehicles, as they can alleviate the costs associated with EV infrastructure specifically.
The partner communities are currently seeking a vendor that would be responsible for creating a “turn-key technology solution,” or a web- or app-based facilitation of the car share program.
Currently, the goal is to launch a pilot of the program in early 2024, running the car share program year-round. Millard added that this would include the incorporation of seasonal tires and accessories like bike and ski racks for users.