AUSTIN, TX - The City of Austin, along with car2go, Daimler's smart car-based car-share initiative, is engaged in a 6-month car-sharing pilot program of 200 smart car vehicles.

The six-month pilot program, which allows the City to test a car-sharing model as a supplement to its existing municipal fleet operations, is essentially a barter agreement in which car2go receives on-street parking spaces in exchange for City of Austin employees' use of car2go vehicles for City business purposes. There is no exchange of revenue.

In addition to the opportunities for financial savings and reduced environmental impacts, the pilot program is expected to serve as a catalyst for changing people's perceptions about car sharing.

"This pilot program gives us an opportunity to promote large-scale car sharing as an alternative to the one-person, one-car mind set," Mayor Lee Leffingwell said.

The City of Austin Transportation Department is working on the Austin Mobility Program - a plan for addressing the City's short- and long-term mobility challenges and building a sustainable transportation system. Car sharing is expected to play a small but significant part in the City's long-term transportation planning.

City employees will have access to the car2go vehicles for personal use but charges incurred will be billed to their personal credit cards. Car2go technology inside the vehicle asks the driver up front if the travel is a business or personal trip.

More details on the program can be viewed here.