Minimize parking requirements, while maximizing your investment in carsharing: A how-to-guide for best practices in carshare planning and implementation.

Build it and they will come. If only it were always that simple. Although many do well, we’ve seen some nice, new developments not sell as well as expected. We’ve also seen shiny new carshare vehicles in such development sit idle. It’s been through trial and tribulation over the past 15+ years – working alongside dozens of municipalities and hundreds of real estate developers – that we’ve been able to distill our learnings into a simple, 8-Step Guide to maximizing the benefits of parking relaxations through two-way carsharing.

Through a formulaic parking relaxation program, municipalities have made it possible for developers to save hundreds of thousands of dollars by replacing traditional parking stalls, with a fewer number of two-way carshare spaces.

This part is simple: only two-way carshares are returned to their designated stalls, for residents to conveniently get around town. The more challenging part is figuring out how many shared vehicles you can support – and how best to implement and market them – in order to maximize the benefits of the program. Here’s how.

1. Understand your options early – get an expert opinion

  • Understanding your options early in your planning process will allow you to make the best decisions possible – ensuring you maximize the allowable parking relaxation benefit, streamline the municipal rezoning process, and optimize your design, budget, marketing and sales strategy.
  • Talk to Modo – the only local two-way carshare operator with 15 years’ expertise in this area – how many vehicles your development can support. Modo uses a proprietary location system, guaranteed to provide the most accurate data. Plus, it’s fast and free.

2. Understand the specific requirements of your municipality

  • Each municipality has different requirements when it comes to implementing carsharing, through parking relaxation programs. Modo has worked with 13 municipalities and can quickly help you understand how to best take advantage of the program.
  • Municipal policies and processes can be complex and evolve regularly. Modo has access to the most up-to-date information – making it easy to understand the conditions set out by your municipality, in order to structure the right carshare solution for your project.

3. Support the need today, while anticipating tomorrow’s

  • Ensure the carshare solution you implement today will be relevant for how people will be living 10, 20, even 30 years from now.
  • Research shows that appeal for carsharing continues to be on the rise, while car ownership declines, with significant shifts in attitudes and behaviour’s on transportation. Yet, recent Metro Vancouver studies show that, on average, residential parking supply continues to exceed demand by 18–35%.
  • With 88% of consumers agreeing that on-site carsharing is a tangible incentive when it comes to buying a new home, this amenity will quickly become the new norm – like granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances.

4. Choose the carshare stalls wisely – ground level or ungated works best

  • Modo can help your team optimize the design of the parking drawings. By choosing the right stall locations you will minimize construction costs, avoid security concerns, and ensure maximum flexibility in terms of vehicle choice.
  • Stalls located in visible, ground level and/or ungated areas of the development will improve ease of access, convenience and uptake for carsharing.
  • Your municipality may also have some specific requirements on the dimensions of the carshare stalls.

5. Select vehicles with high appeal to your residents

  • Choose a vehicle that aligns with the brand of your development and its (prospective) residents.
  • Modo offers over 50 vehicle models (including premium and luxury brands) to support every demographic, from the price-conscious, to those driven by luxury.
  • If you don’t know what your residents want to drive, ask. Seeking input is a great way to generate interest and engagement, and differentiate your property.

6. Confirm the details of your carshare solution early

  • Defining the program early (e.g., the number, types and locations of vehicles) will enable you to confidently and effectively communicate with your stakeholders: residents, partners, municipalities, etc. You may also want to provide further incentives, such as free driving credits or memberships.
  • Early confirmation will ensure you’re able to maximize your parking relaxations, before other developers step in to fulfill the carshare potential of the neighbourhood.
  • In some cases, confirming your solution early can eliminate the need for a letter of credit, typically required by the municipality to guarantee the implementation of your program. In other cases, it may help to release your letter of credit early and improve your cash flow.

7. Promote carsharing as an amenity and use it as a selling feature

  • Buy a home, get a car! Location and transportation/accessibility are two of the most important considerations when buying/renting a home. On-site carsharing is a valued amenity with high appeal, much like proximity/access to transit.
  • Leverage the strength of your added amenity in all your marketing collateral and channels, and be as specific as possible (number/type of vehicles, and any added incentives such as free driving credits/memberships).
  • Modo is happy to provide marketing support and content for the full sales cycle (pre, during and post-sale), attend your next sales event or owners meeting, or even help with a booth at your sales centre.

8. Ensure your sales team is well versed on carsharing

  • Ensure your sales team is trained on how carsharing works and the specific details of your solution. Modo will gladly provide an orientation session and whatever materials are required, to enable them to talk confidently about the topic, and include it in their sales pitch.
  • Make sure your sales team understands how powerful of a sales tool carsharing can be. For example, prospects can save $500/month – by eliminating the need for a personally owned car (or second car) – which can instead be put towards home financing.