Re: Cohousing traffic studies
From: R Philip Dowds (
Date: Wed, 26 Aug 2020 12:48:59 -0700 (PDT)
Data is always good, Yes.  However, I think passenger car ownership and trip 
generation are driven by the fundamentals of household demographics interacting 
with urban versus suburban/rural locations.  Holding demography and location 
constant, I would not expect passenger vehicle usage to vary much from 
cohousing models to “regular” models.

Except for maybe …

Car sharing?

Informally, at Cornerstone, there’s a lot of impromptu car sharing, and also 
some occasional effort at errand and trip consolidation.  Not clear, however, 
that this has encouraged any of our two-car households to devolve to one.  We 
have one member who intentionally ceased owning a personal vehicle, in the 
belief that on those irregular occasions where she needs a car, friends at 
Cornerstone will always loan her one.  In this, she has been correct.

Formally, I’m not aware of many, or any, cohousing communities that own and 
maintain a communal car pool available to all members.  A communal car pool 
could reduce on-site parking demands by a lot — but would not necessarily 
reduce trips or mileage.

Philip Dowds
Cornerstone Village Cohousing
Cambridge, MA

mobile: 617.460.4549
email:   rpdowds [at]

> On Aug 26, 2020, at 11:48 AM, Kathryn McCamant <kmccamant [at] 
>> wrote:
> This is the kind of thing, actual traffic and parking counts,  that would be 
> fabulous to have documented by researchers so we have real viable statistics 
> to site. 
> Katie 
> -- 
> Kathryn McCamant, President
> CoHousing Solutions
> On 8/26/20, 8:24 AM, "Cohousing-L on behalf of Sharon Villines via 
> Cohousing-L" < [at] 
> on behalf of cohousing-l [at]> wrote:
>> On Aug 25, 2020, at 2:15 PM, Midcoast Cohousing <midcoastcohousing [at] 
>>> wrote:
>> Does anyone have information on cohousing traffic volume — number of trips 
>> per day, etc — compares with standard traffic models?
>    (Somewhere in the archives is a message on Takoma Village’s history with 
> parking, which relates to trips. I can’t find my copy just now. Fiona posted 
> about the reduction in car trips with the use of a wonderful car sharing 
> software that allows them to share cars and request ride shares.)
>    The situation depends on what is available in the area — buses, Metro, 
> etc. We are very close to the Metro in DC and a regional bus hub.
>    After we moved in we found that people fairly quickly got rid of second 
> cars as they aged out. Within 5 (?) years of move-in, several households got 
> rid of their primary cars. This opened spaces for guest parking which we had 
> not planned for. We have several people who do not use cars for commuting who 
> loan their cars. We also have 5-6 short term rental cars within a block — 
> worst case 3 blocks.
>    We share shopping trips or pick up items for other people. With the 
> internal email list, people post messages saying “I have a prescription 
> waiting at CVS — is anyone going there?” People will stop on their way home 
> from work to pick up milk, etc, for others.  Who is going to the Coop this 
> weekend — I need 3 items? Is anyone going to Costco?
>    During the pandemic the requests to borrow food items instead of making a 
> trip to the grocery store and to pool trips have increased to reduce exposure 
> to the outside. This has reduced exposure for high risk people who have not 
> had to go out at all since February. The requests have become precise and 
> unique: 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 2 tablespoons of Creme de menthe, cream for 
> my morning coffee, Pepto Bismol. Heating pad.
>    One person has also set up regular trips to a mail center that recycles 
> cardboard boxes, the coop, drug store, hardware store, and the grocery store. 
> He posts his trips on the email list and people either call in and pay for 
> their orders directly for him to pick up or send him a list before a deadline 
> he specifies. (Pre-covid, we had a small traffic jam in the local CVS with 3 
> people on the way home from work going in to pick up Diet Coke for me when I 
> was ill and desperate.)
>    Cohousing allows for that kind of traffic reduction because we have an 
> internal communications system and we all know each other. Unless you have 
> lived in a neighborhood for many years, it is unlikely that you know your 
> neighbors well enough to do this except in extreme emergencies. And you 
> probably don’t have an email list for your block, which makes it easy to post 
> a message that will reach many people increasing the chances of a response.
>    Cohousing makes all these things convenient, particularly in attached and 
> stacked units.
>    Sharon
>    ----
>    Sharon Villines
>    Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC
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