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Transportation

Carshare Encourages Workers To Leave Their Personal Vehicles At Home

Houston’s Energy Corridor wants to promote alternative commuting.

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carshare cars parked

Outside an office park near I-10 and Dairy Ashford, we’re checking out a Toyota Prius, one of the Energy Corridor’s rideshare cars.

“In order to gain access to the vehicle I’ll use my membership card that Enterprise Carshare sent me.”

Kelly Rector is the Transportation Coordinator for the Energy Corridor Management District. She gets into the vehicle by tapping her card on a windshield sensor.

“Within the glove compartment, the keys are right inside and I’m ready to go,” says Rector.

Rector oversees a pilot program that allows people who work in the Energy Corridor to check out vehicles for short-term rentals.

If they take the bus to work, or ride in a carpool, they’ll have a vehicle available during the day if they need to go somewhere. They can also take a vehicle home overnight if there’s an emergency.

Engineer Jonathon Miller says that’s what prompted him to sign up. His wife was home pregnant and he was carpooling with another worker.
 
“I was concerned if I came to work with him and she was going into labor, how would I get home to be there for the baby?” says Miller.

Miller says the baby arrived at a convenient time so he didn’t have to make a mad-dash home. Now he commutes by bike and makes a 20-mile trip from his home west of Katy.

“I can use a unique way to get to and from work, and I can still have the benefits and advantages of having a vehicle without necessarily having all the overhead and all the costs,” says Miller.

Miller is one of over 90,000 people who work in Houston’s Energy Corridor, in the area along I-10 west of Beltway 8. The Management District says between 80 and 85 percent of those workers drive to the office by themselves.

And according to a survey, about 65 percent said they didn’t use buses or carpools because they feel the need to have a car at work.  

Energy Corridor Transportation Director John Nunez says that’s a big problem, considering the district’s workforce could swell to 150,000 by 2030.  

“Adding more capacity to the street grid is not something we contemplate is going to happen anytime soon,” says Nunez. 

The carshare program is part of the Energy Corridor’s efforts to encourage workers to leave their cars at home.

That initiative is now in its second year. District officials won’t say exactly how many people are using it right now, but they say the number is increasing.  

Enterprise Rental Car provides the vehicles and the card access technology. The carshare vehicles are currently available at two locations but Kelly Rector says they’re anxious to expand.

“And we are right now very close to placing additional vehicles at other office parks around the Energy Corridor, and that will really make it available, open it up to a lot more people here,” says Rector.

Click here to learn more about the Energy Corridor’s mobility efforts.

 

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

News Anchor

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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