Equity Carshare Policies and Practice, Oakland, California, 2015, 2017

  • Featured Overview
  • Date Enacted: Mar 17, 2015
  • Date Launched: Feb 28, 2017
  • Pilot Project Timeframe: The Free-floating permit terms and conditions were released February 2017


This document serves as a clearinghouse for Oakland, California’s carsharing program. It gathers the enabling ordinances that define car sharing, car sharing organizations, and related terms. 

In 2013, the Plan Bay Area 2040 – the San Francisco Bay region’s long-term integrated transportation plan and sustainable communities strategy – was approved. The Plan outlines an investment of $13 million in carsharing over its course and aims to achieve a 2.6% per capita reduction in GHG emissions. In April 2014, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) released a call for carshare projects and applications [1] as part of a $2 million Car Share Grant Program (a component of the CMAQ Cycle 2 Congestion Mitigation Air Quality Program) that aligns with the carsharing goals identified in the Climate Initiatives Program and the Plan Bay Area. The criteria upon which carshare programs would be funded were based the following: their reach to communities that do not have robust carsharing services, that are underserved, or that are predominately minority or low income; their reach to business parks and transit connections; and, their use of innovative technologies/operation mechanisms. MTC received a total of seven applications and $3.4 million in funding requests. Six projects were approved with a total of $2 million in funding.

Oakland’s Carshare Program Expansion

The City of Oakland Public Works Department submitted a successful application [3] for the establishment of a comprehensive carsharing expansion and outreach program [4] in partnership with TransForm and the Transportation Sustainability Research Center (TSRC) at the University of California, Berkley. The program consists of three main components:

  • The City of Oakland will establish new city programs to provide point-to-point carsharing and dedicated on-street parking for carsharing, which will increase its visibility and adoption.
  • TransForm will carry out an extensive outreach program focused in East Oakland to increase market penetration for a variety of car sharing options within disadvantaged communities.
  • TSRC will design the program evaluation to quantitatively assess the performance of the various program sub-components.

The project provides a unique opportunity to dramatically expand the number of carsharing vehicles available in Oakland. Through intensive community outreach,  the project aims to increase access to carshare in low-income and disadvantaged communities. The project provides critical funding to update city policies and implement an administrative program for carsharing.

Legislative Process

The City’s Public Works Department submitted an agenda report [5] to the City Council which outlines the carsharing policy, accepts the MTC funds, and provides recommendations on resolutions and ordinances to adopt in order to make way for the approval and implementation of the Oakland Carshare Policy and program expansion. The proposed policy provides the regulatory framework to give carsharing organizations appropriate use of the public right of way and access to municipal lots and garages in Oakland. It also provides a framework for the implementation of a two-year point to point carsharing pilot project and suggests changes to personnel authority. The legislation was passed on February 8, 2015 and includes a number of other resolutions and ordinances that have been approved in relation to the carshare program, including

  1. A resolution [6] passed by the City Council on March 17, 2015 ,which authorizes the Public Works Department to file an application for funding assigned to the MTC and commits to matching funds of 20% of the grant amount.
  2. A resolution [7] passed by the City Council on March 17, 2015 which approves the carsharing policy, allows the Public Works director to establish the carsharing framework, appropriates the $320,526 funding awarded by the MTC, and commits to matching funds equivalent to 20% of the grant amount ($64,105).
  3. A resolution [8] passed by the City Council on March 31, 2015 which amends the ordinance on parking permits and establishes residential parking permits and a free-floating zone permit program for carsharing.

In November 2015, the City of Oakland passed a resolution [9]  awarding a professional services agreement to TSRC.


Free-floating Parking Zone Permits and Master Residential Parking Permits
The city established free-floating parking zone permits and master residential parking permits to allow car share vehicles to park in otherwise restricted parking spaces for up to 72 hours. For metered on-street parking, the car share providers may pre-pay up to 12 months of prorated meter fees (initially $1278 per car), based on the fee schedule. Any differences would be invoiced at the end of the term, based on data reporting, below.  For residential zones, they may likewise park for up to 72 hours in the same space. In the future, the city might provide signage for approved zones. Twenty percent (20%) of the zones must be located within designated “Communities of Concern,” for equity, and the permittees must reach out to businesses, and the neighborhoods.

Data Sharing and Evaluation
The city also requires that the car share organizations share the following data:

  • vehicle-miles traveled (VMT)
  • vehicle greenhouse gas emissions per mile
  • safety record
  • average user costs
  • number of users and vehicles in Oakland
  • share of vehicle time in MTC-designated Communities of Concern areas

Additionally, “the City reserves the right to evaluate Qualified Car Sharing Organizations annually on the basis of the following performance metrics”:

  • membership demographics that reflect the City (by ethnicity, income, etc.)
  • evidence of private vehicles shed or avoided
  • VMT avoided
  • fleet greenhouse-gas emissions per mile
  • geographic distribution of service area within Oakland
  • average user cost per hour and/or mile
  • Qualified Car Sharing Organization Terms and Conditions
  • number of users with special needs

The Oakland car share program is showing notable progress thanks to its comprehensive approach.

Updated August 2017

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