Although City Cars can work quite nicely as privately owned vehicles, they provide the greatest sustainability benefits when they are integrated into citywide, intelligently coordinated, shared-use mobility systems. The idea is to locate stacks of City Cars at major origin and destination points, such as transit stops, airports, hotels, apartment buildings, supermarkets, convenience stores, universities, hospitals, and so on. You just swipe a credit card, drive a vehicle away from the front of the stack, and return it to the rear of another stack at your final destination. From the user’s perspective, it’s like having valet parking everywhere.
From the operator’s perspective, it’s a mobility service business. Success depends on having enough stacks and vehicles to satisfy demand, while minimizing unnecessary capacity and implementing an effective strategy for tracking vehicles through GPS and redeploying them, as necessary, from points of low present demand to points of high present demand. This system enables a high vehicle-utilization rate, doesn’t leave cars sitting uselessly around for most of the time—as private automobiles do—and minimizes the number of vehicles needed to provide a high level of personal mobility within an urban area.