01/21/2015 12:42 EST | Updated 03/23/2015 05:59 EDT

Seattle approves expanded car-sharing plan

Seattle could soon leap ahead of Vancouver when it comes to car sharing after the city council approved legislation to add more than 2,000 vehicles in the next two years.

The city's goal, just like Vancouver's, is to reduce residents' reliance on having their own cars. Currently only Car2Go operates in Seattle. It has 500 smart cars, which are shared by 59,000 members.

The city is now looking for three new companies to raise the total to 2,500 shared cars on the road — twice the number offered in Vancouver.

In Vancouver Car2Go, Modo and Zipcar already have more than 1,000 cars available to 65,000 total members.

Catch a greener ride

Car-sharing is a part of Vancouver's transportation and greenest city plans. Property developers are given incentives to provide parking for the shared vehicles, which can also be parked for free in any street parking reserved for residents.

Vancouver City Councillor Geoff Meggs said more than 85 per cent of Metro Vancouver's car share members live in the City of Vancouver, but other Metro Vancouver municipalities have started looking into car sharing.

"I think the challenge in Vancouver will be spreading out into the lower density suburbs," said Meggs.

"There is definitely a lot of car sharing going on downtown and it is up to private sector if they want to expand to the lower density suburbs."

The city is prepared to help the companies expand, and if another company wants to put a new network on the roads in Vancouver, it can apply, said Meggs.

"What's permitted under the bylaw is the city engineer can designate parking spots in residential areas and facilitate spots in the downtown core, that kind of thing, so companies can have space for their fleet."