The announcement of two new car club schemes launching in Inverness, backed by the Highland Council and partner Hitrans, is prompting speculation about the rise of the car club in the UK. The launch will entail the creation of 16 car club parking bays around Inverness, allowing club members to collect self-service vehicles for hire by the hour. The new Inverness services will be operated by Enterprise Car Club and Europcar. More are planned for implementation in Fort William, Wick and Thurso. As part of a car club scheme, motorists pay only for time spent using the car _ tax, insurance, parking, services and repair costs are all covered in the overall rental rate. Chair of the Highland Council's Community Services Committee, Cllr. Henderson, said: 'Highland Council is committed to creating sustainable transport in the region and car clubs are a good way of reducing vehicle numbers on our roads and therefore emissions. We will watch with interest the uptake of this trial scheme as it progresses.î Carplus is a not-for-profit organisation helping to fund, support and develop car club schemes across Scotland. According to Susan Jeynes, Scotland Car Club programme manager at Carplus, 'car club vehicles play a key role in reducing emissions, with carbon emissions 49% lower than from the average vehicle. They also provide a valuable alternative to car ownership _ providing access to a vehicle when you need one without the hassle of ownership.î The launch in Inverness comes as car club schemes appear to be surging in popularity across the UK. Research from University College London shows car usage in the capital peaked in 1990 at 50% of all trips taken. Since then, the figure has fallen to 37% and is predicted to fall further as car ownership seems to become less attractive. Findings by the RAC Foundation showed that the average car in the UK spends 80% of its time parked at home, 16% parked at work, and only 4% being driven. Meanwhile, the London transport authority suggests that costs, stress, car parking and congestion are among the reasons for a marked decline in car ownership. Carplus' Susan Jeynes suggests 'car clubs ƒ provide people who don't want to buy a car with a sustainable alternative.î The UK Government itself has set high targets for driving car club scheme membership. The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA), in co-operation with Carplus and Transport For London, are backing a Car Club Coalition initiative to increase total car club membership to over one million by mid-2020. According to research, 50% of Londoners currently live within five minutes of a car club vehicle, further reducing reliance on personal car ownership. Car-sharing company Zipcar, with its 1,500 vehicles available to rent in the UK, states that motorists can save up to £264 per month in a car club as opposed to owning. Nicholas Cole, president of Zipcar International, has indicated the company's high ambitions. He says 'our goal is a future where car-sharing outnumbers car ownership.î For those in rural areas _ where car club memberships offer less coverage and are less practical _ traditional car ownership rates should remain strong, if largely out of necessity. For many drivers, however, owning a car will potentially be presented as one option out of several. Alternatively, car ownership will make up only a small fraction of a person's daily transport solution in the near future.