Flex Car Programs: Marrying Going Green with America's Car Culture
What is uniquely American is a distinct car culture. Compared to many societies around the world, the U.S. relies heavily on the use of a car, truck, or SUV to get to and from places. This car culture is what makes the U.S. stand out and perhaps is part of our identity. Such a culture also has ramifications in terms of overall environmental quality becoming deteriorated. However, flex car programs on colleges and universities have a way of marrying the idea of going green with America's distinct culture of car use.
In particular, as part of Ohio State University's green transportation plan, they have adopted a Flexcar program, "a car sharing program for university departments, faculty, staff, students, and community residents; and a vanpooling for commuters. People who bike, walk, carpool, vanpool or take a bus to campus can have a vehicle ready for their short-term needs."
Thus, the whole idea of a car share program at colleges and universities like Ohio State is to get individuals to only use a car when they must absolutely do so. Often, people may use a car when they do not necessarily need to (e.g. when something is within walking or biking distance simply because of the convenience of a car). Thus, instead of taking a car everyday to and from places, the plan is to use a car only when absolutely necessary.
Flex car programs, therefore, are a great way to marry Americans' desire to drive with the need to go green from both an environmental and economic standpoint. Specifically, the 21st Century is fraught with ways to get the U.S. consumer to go green by doing things from driving more fuel efficient cars to taking public transportation more frequently. With the flex car program, it cuts down on things like wasted trips and driving for the sake of driving type issues.
As such, it is great the Ohio State University started their Flex Car program back in 2007. Many other colleges and universities of course have since fallen suit. This Flex Car program is innovative at OSU because it bridges the gap and shows how there is not necessarily an either/or proposition when it comes to driving versus not driving.
The Flex Car program at OSU allows students and others to actually drive albeit on a restricted basis. Restrictions on driving are a good thing because it limits unnecessary use of a car, which in turn helps environmental quality. Thus, Flex Car programs are innovative by combining American traditional values with 21st Century values moving forward.
Photo Credit: Mariordo Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz