Zipcar, one of the world's leading car sharing networks, recently added a number of schools to its popular university program this fall, giving students, staff and faculty a chance to drive its cars at discounted rates.

The Zipcar program is now being offered at more than 300 colleges and universities across North America, giving students a chance to take advantage of cost savings, convenience and fun riding in Zipcars.

"Zipcar's university programs are a powerful venue to introduce Millenials to Zipcar's category-leading mobility solution," said Mark Norman, Zipcar president and COO. "Students love the freedom and flexibility Zipcar provides on campus and the ability to continue their membership in leading cities around the world when they graduate, while universities choose Zipcar's leading brand and technology to deliver sustainable improvement in traffic congestion, parking requirements and emissions reduction on campus."

In the fall, Zipcar is planning to launch its car sharing program at Arcadia University, Georgetown University, Gonzaga University and Upstate Medical University, in addition to many other schools around the country.

Zipcar has been offered at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and community partners since 2009 as a part of a comprehensive Transportation Demand Management program, offering 10 vehicles at seven locations throughout Champaign and Urbana. The option of using Zipcar gives students, staff and faculty at the university a great alternative to renting a vehicle or taking public transportation.

"Since the start of the program, the university has seen a 30 percent reduction in the number of parking permits issued and an increase in the use of active transportation modes, which has helped cut down traffic volumes on campus and made it a safer and healthier place for students, employees and visitors," said Morgan Johnston, sustainability and transportation demand management coordinator at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

According to previously conducted studies, car sharing has been an effective alternative for college campuses, cutting down on parking demand and congestion, in addition to reducing the amount of carbon emissions that are released into the air around the campus. Studies have also shown that Zipcars can replace up to 15 personally owned vehicles while increasing the use of public transit, walking and biking.

"Due to the Zipcar program at the University of Southern California (USC), the percentage of students, faculty and staff requesting parking passes has been reduced by approximately six percent year-over-year, which has not only lessened the demand for parking but has also helped reduce traffic congestion on and around campus," said Tony Mazza, director of transportation for USC.

Ford working with Zipcar
Zipcar is leading efforts of a widespread range of mobility options, which is now being expanded to car sharing, bike sharing, ride sharing, public transit and more. Zipcar has teamed up with Ford to offer an annual membership fee for individuals at participating colleges and universities for only $25, in addition to rates on vehicles starting as low as $7.50 per hour and $69 per day.

Ford also recently announced that it's working on a new carbon fiber hood prototype that weighs more than 50 percent less than the standard steel versions, which could improve the performance of its vehicles by reducing the weight and increasing fuel efficiency. The newly designed carbon fiber is also twice as stiff as steel and will reduce the weight of Ford vehicles by almost 750 pounds by the end of the decade, according to DailyTech.com.