Green Car Journal: Carmageddon Reflections

Originally published in the Green Car Journal This summer, "Carmageddon" came to Los Angeles. If you didn't see the news, the much-traveled 405 freeway was closed for a weekend in mid-July. TV talking heads warned of mass panic on the streets and predicted traffic backed up to the Mexican border. After all was said and done, people were smart and the freeways had light traffic. People walked to shops in the neighborhood, took public transit, and even biked. Yes, it is possible to bike and walk in L.A.

In fact, some even took to the 405 to bike or run the empty lanes. Some were caught by peace officers, others enjoyed the unprecedented quiet unabated. The most insipid mode of transport, however, was Jet Blue flying people from Burbank to Long Beach. To point out the folly -- and waste of fuel and pollution created -- a group of bikers raced the JetBlue jet and won by a long shot.

Biking as a means of transit is a new initiative for us at Global Green, where we recently embarked on a joint effort with the city of Santa Monica to explore the possibility of a bike share program. And we have worked to help secure funding for L.A. to work on bike lanes and safety. Which brings me to car sharing.

Carmageddon made me long for more walking, biking, and public transit in L.A, but cars are an indelible aspect of our culture and often critical to getting around this sprawling metropolis. However, many of us don’t need a car full-time.

What if we can create Carmasharing? Investing in car sharing services in neighborhoods throughout our metropolitan areas -- using a mix of fuel-efficient, hybrid, and electric vehicles and combining this with bike sharing -- creates robust mobility options. Tie it into transit hubs and one could conceive of moving about L.A. without owning a car.

We are a long way away, but car sharing is an opportunity for automakers to support communities across the U.S.