Metro Car

An Urban Car Concept - John L Smith

Metro Car is a proposed system that exploits technology for better use of cars in the urban environment. This page contains an overview of the first stage of a long term development for sustainable use of the car in Canberra.

Stage 1

Stage 1 is a proposal that permits more day parking in the Canberra Town centres and the Parliamentary Triangle without increasing parking areas. Metro cars are small commuter vehicles based on a standard vehicle such as the Toyate Yaris 3-door hatch shown opposite. They are equipped with a few special computer, communication and control features that have already been developed by the auto industry, although not in the exact form that is required for a Metro Car system. These are:

Metro cars are rented for long term periods (12 months in stage 1) and they are meant to be used by households in which at least one person has regular employment in one of the key centres mentioned.

Metro cars can be parked for no additional cost in special parking areas in the key centres as part of the rental agreement. When parked in these zones, the car must be empty of personal possessions, have sufficient fuel on board to drive 100km, and be in clean condition. Renters would normally be allocated a different Metro car when they return to the parking area.

Metro Car parking areas operate at about twice the parking density of current open space parking lots (see below). When in the designated parking lanes the Metro car is under automated parking control that effects the simple parking movements required.


Centre area of the parking lot in the image on the right has been transformed into a Metro Car parking area with controlled parking lanes. Cars enter at the bottom of the picture and leave with driver on board at the top. The area can accomodate a maximum of 536 Metro cars. The area accommodates 284 cars when under the car parking subdivision on the right .

Rental Conditions

Metro cars can only be used within the Canberra city limits and they are governed to a maximum speed of 100kph.

Renters must pay for the cost of all fuel used while in possession of a Metro car and for any special cleaning required as a result of their use of a Metro car.

The renter must pay for comprehensive insurance and the excess fee for a Metro car.

The system operator will ensure that Metro cars are registered and insured according to ACT regulations and maintain all vehicles in clean and roadworthy condition and bear the associated costs. Rentals would be terminated for failure to take proper care of a vehicle.

Annual rental fees would be based on amortising the cost of a fleet vehicle over three years and a parking fee component discounted from the fee for non Metro cars parked in the same areas. Rentals would be adjusted on the basis of fuel bought and fuel used.



Google Image circa 2011 of the parking lot in the Parliamentary Triangle east of the National Library and north of the Questacon Building.