Car Share Boston, An Alternative to Personal Vehicle Ownership, Expanded in the City

A successful pilot program has resulted in the expansion from 40 car-share parking spaces up to 250 on local streets and in municipal lots throughout Boston.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the City of Boston’s Transportation Department today announced the expansion of Car Share Boston, a Go Boston 2030 initiative that gives residents an alternative to personal vehicle ownership, and improves access to car share vehicles by leasing public parking spaces in municipal lots and on city streets to car-share operators. The expansion would increase the number of parking spaces currently reserved for these car-share vehicles from 40 to 250 on local streets and in municipal lots located throughout Boston’s neighborhoods.

Go Boston 2030, announced by Mayor Walsh in 2017, is the City’s comprehensive transportation plan that aims to make Boston’s neighborhoods interconnected for all modes of travel by ensuring that every home is within a 10 minute walk of a rail station or key bus route stop, bike share station, and car-share.

“I’m glad to expand the availability of Car Share Boston, which gives residents access to vehicles that are conveniently parked in their neighborhoods and available for their personal use,” said Mayor Walsh. “By designating parking spaces throughout the city, Car Share Boston works to ensure these services are available in an equitable way to all of Boston’s neighborhoods. Thank you to all of our partners who helped create this expansion, continuing our work towards our Go Boston 2030 goals.”

The expansion of car-share locations is one of the goals of Go Boston 2030. Based on academic research, car-sharing can provide more affordable access to a car for many residents and can actually reduce the need for parking. For example, car share members often sell or choose not to purchase a car, and for every car-share vehicle added to a neighborhood, there are up to thirteen vehicles removed from or not added to the streets. The Car Share Boston program, previously named Drive Boston, saw significant utilization, with an average of 23 different people using these car-share vehicles each month. Based on the positive results from the pilot, the City is now expanding the program.

“Car Share Boston increases resident’s access to cars without increasing the need for parking,” said Transportation Commissioner Greg Rooney. “In addition to giving residents more quality and affordable transportation options, Car Share Boston will also help reduce the City’s rate of carbon emissions.”

To ensure that the goals of the program are prioritized, Car Share Boston’s requirements and restrictions include:

  • A maximum cap of up to 30 dedicated spaces in the Downtown and the Seaport. If a partner company requests dedicated space in Downtown or the Seaport, it must locate at least one vehicle in each of four other areas distributed throughout Boston’s neighborhoods.
  • Partner companies must have private parking spaces or plans to install private parking spaces in the City before occupying any dedicated public spaces.
  • No dedicated parking spaces may be installed on streets with daily overnight street cleaning operations. For all other streets with street cleaning operations, partners must clean the area consistent with the City’s street sweeping schedule, at a minimum every two weeks between March 1 and November 30, and as reasonably requested by the City.

The City’s partner companies include Zipcar and Getaround, a new partner in the Car Share Boston program. Zipcar has partnered with the City of Boston’s car-share initiative since the pilot program began in 2015. Both partner companies were selected through a Request for Proposal process.

“Zipcar was born in Boston twenty years ago, and as we’ve grown into the world’s leading car sharing network, we’ve kept Boston as our home thanks in large part to the support of strong partners like Mayor Walsh and his team,” said Justin Holmes, Vice President, Marketing and Policy at Zipcar. “We’re pleased to expand this Car Share Boston partnership which will offer more residents the opportunity to leave behind their personally-owned car and join the car-free lifestyle that Zipcar membership enables, making the city more sustainable and reducing congestion, competition for parking and carbon emissions overall.”

“Getaround was founded with the vision to empower people to car share everywhere to make cities better places to live. Getaround’s contactless technology — the Getaround Connect® device installed in the car and a smartphone app — enables people to instantly find, book, and unlock cars from their phone, without meeting in person to hand over keys,” said Eric Rago, Director of Location Partnerships & Strategy at Getaround. “The City of Boston has provided a clear vision for how it will develop a more sustainable and equitable transportation system and Getaround is proud to partner in expanding the Car Share Boston program to more neighborhoods throughout the city.”

The City defines the geographic areas and conditions required for each license. Parking spaces are chosen based on neighborhood car ownership rates; the average amount of miles households drive each day; access to public transportation; and the company’s preference. Partner companies obtain the exclusive use of each parking space 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the term of the license. License fees are based upon anticipated parking meter revenue and the monthly cost of maintaining a parking space in the City of Boston, such as parking meter and sign maintenance, parking enforcement, street sweeping, depreciation of technology and snow removal.

Each Car Share Boston partner has health protocols in place to address health and safety, and meets the City’s requirements for COVID-19 safety protocols. To learn more, contact the Car Share Boston partner companies Zipcar and Getaround. For more information on the program and to find out where new locations will be, visit the Car Share Boston website.


Go Boston 2030 is the City of Boston’s long term mobility plan, informed by thousands of residents during a two-year engagement process. Go Boston 2030 envisions a city in a region where all residents have better and more equitable travel choices, where efficient transportation networks foster economic opportunity, and where steps have been taken to prepare for climate change. Whether traveling by transit, on foot, on a bike, or by car, people will be able to access all parts of Boston safely and reliably. To learn more, visit the Go Boston 2030 website.