Viewpoints

Golf Car Cities Attract Residents, Reduce Pollution and Cut Transportation Costs

By Mary Sicard

Towns and cities across the country -- from Peachtree City, Ga., to Lyons, Colo., -- are allowing personal golf cars and other alternative vehicles in designated areas. These vehicles expand transportation options and lower transportation costs while protecting community environments -- three goals of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, formed by the Department of Transportation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Because golf cars are being used for neighborhood transportation in communities such as The Villages in central Florida, whose residents own more than 50,000 golf cars, they also have given birth to a new class of vehicle known as Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs), which are emissions-free and street-legal in most states on streets with speed limits of 35 mph or less.

In addition to their environmental benefits, golf cars and NEVs also significantly cut transportation cost, the second largest household expense for U.S. families. In many cases, it allows families to get rid of one automobile entirely. “We’ve recently sold one of our cars and now have just one car and a golf car,” says Mike Zipes, a resident of Sun City, S.C., according to a Fox News report.

Zipes made that transition in 2012, after South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley signed a law extending the use of golf cars from within two to four miles of an owner’s residence on roads with speed limits of 35 mph or less.

David Rast, a city planner with Peachtree City, Ga., a planned golf car community outside Atlanta with a 90-mile network of multi-use paths, says that being a golf car city helps them attract lots of young families and seniors. The city promotes itself as a place where residents can “Discover life at 15 mph.”

Although much of the multi-use network infrastructure in Peachtree City was installed by developers, the city assumes ownership and maintenance once it’s built. They also enact ordinances that regulate alternative vehicle usage, registration, age limits, safety equipment and more.   

Rast believes that the growing number of seniors will only reinforce the trend toward alternative transportation. “We even have one community for people 65 and older with a secure underground golf car parking garage with charging stations,” he says.

Among its many accolades, the city was chosen by CNN/Money Magazine as one of the “Top 10 Best Places to Live in the U.S.” in 2005 and 2009 and one of the “Best Places to Retire” by U.S. News and World Report in 2007.

Rast says that being a golf car city helps attract retailers, too. “Businesses love it once they come here and see the activity on the streets,” he says.

Rast also notes that the use of golf cars has had a very positive impact on air quality and noise pollution. “After all, we’ve taken 10,000 automobiles off our roadways,” he says.

In addition, allowing golf cars creates a more livable environment, according to Rast. Growing numbers of people prefer communities that foster interaction, support green initiatives and integrate shopping, recreation and dining into their lives.

Viera, Florida, resident James Bruzza, a retired Wall Street broker, is among them. Bruzza says he keeps his car parked in his garage most days. “My NEV just seems to fit into this type of community and lifestyle,” he says.

While the exact number of golf car cities is unknown, the trend is growing, and fast. According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, all but four states now have laws that allow golf cars or NEVs to be driven on public roads.

Mary Sicard is Consumer Marketing Manager at Club Car.

Discuss this Blog Entry 4

Anonymous (not verified)
on May 29, 2013

So the power plants that furnish electricity to charge up these "cars" are "emissions free", huh?

Mag (not verified)
on May 30, 2013

This needs to expand to Japanese Kei Mini-Trucks. Overall this
is a really cool thing! Very innovative and practical.

on Jun 6, 2013

Carpool is a sharing system which gives financial benefits to the partners and save fuels and make our environment pollution free. It is really appreciable. This system basically followed by company job colloquies. Everyone should follow it as it is a very beneficial and effective system.

Use of electricity in place of fuels will somehow help to save the environment. It is because using electricity to run vehicles reduces the smoke and it helps to reduce the air pollution. Air pollution is one of the major causes of environmental pollution. So the charging vehicles are really very important to save our ecosystem.

on Jan 30, 2014

Vehicle manufacturing companies are used to manufacture various types of car models, golf cars are also one of them. Especially in urban regions we have found golf court where golf cars are being used, these are cost effective. And now these cars are using for transportation purposes, these are pollution free and affordable.

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Derek Prall is a professional journalist who has held numerous positions with a variety of print and online publications including The Public Manager magazine and the New Jersey Herald. He is a 2008...

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