2 recent screenshots of car2go availability around Adams Morgan. Image by Josh Gibson used with permission.

During the day, it's hard to find a car2go in Adams Morgan. Josh Gibson asked why, and sent us these screen shots to illustrate his point.

Every day, there is a huge car2Go hole in Adams Morgan. I know, the cars all migrate from streetcar suburbs to downtown every morning rush hour. And maybe Adams Morgan has extra high demand. But why leave unused cars in every surrounding neighborhood instead of increasing Adams Morgan's daily allocation when the cars' locations get shifted/balanced every day?

If you follow @councilofdc on Twitter, you've probably seen the clever humor and approachable communication style of Gibson, who is responsible for the Council's Twitter account and other duties as council public information officer. He lives in Adams Morgan (he founded the Adams Morgan BID, in fact) and often uses car2go, a service where you can grab a car, usually a small Smart car, drive it elsewhere, and leave it parked at your destination without having to return it to the original spot.

So, what's going on in Adams Morgan? Basically, they do move cars to Adams Morgan (and other popular spots)... but then someone drives the car off almost immediately. One employee of a car2go vendor, who asked not to be named because he wasn't authorized to talk publicly, said, "We have a team of people that just move cars to these high utilization areas. As soon as we place them back in the system, they are typically gone within minutes. No matter how may times we populate it, cars get picked up the minute we drop them off."

Aaron Landry, the general manager for car2go, gave a more detailed official statement:

Bottom line is we’re always working to make sure a vehicle is available to someone wherever they need it. Long-time readers probably have noticed we’ve gotten even better in the last couple years on this promise, and we’re constantly adjusting to make sure we’re serving areas that have increased demand.

We have a system that works to meet demand for vehicles by identifying cars we predict will be parked for a bit and brings them to where we know they’ll be used. There is a team that brings these vehicles to where they need to be, and the primary objective is to use the curbside as less as possible and to serve our 62,000 members with the right amount of vehicles (currently 600). We take a lot of inputs into account in addition to our historical data, such as seasonal adjustments, when certain educational and government institutions are in session (and predicting the neighborhoods where people who go to those places live), and when there are scheduled reductions of service with Metro. There are also unscheduled things we are on top of such as sudden weather changes and unscheduled transit outages. It’s a continually evolving system and an exciting part of how car2go works behind the scenes.

Many car2go members, especially in areas where car2go is used constantly, use the Radar feature on the car2go app that sends a notification when a car becomes available. This way when a car shows up, you can reserve it, walk to it and be on your way. Not everyone knows about that feature and I hope it helps GGWash readers out.

Hope you can get a car when you need it, Josh (when walking, biking, or transit aren't good options, of course)!

How is car2go availability in your neighborhood?

David Alpert is Founder and President of Greater Greater Washington and Executive Director of DC Sustainable Transportation (DCST). He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. Unless otherwise noted, opinions in his GGWash posts are his and not the official views of GGWash or DCST.