Beyond Informality: The Resiliency of Quito’s Informal Car Share

As Latin American cities deal with the effects of population growth and insufficient infrastructure provision, informal car share (ICS) is increasingly filling the gap in transportation choice for underserved populations. ICS is the use of private vehicles to provide transportation for a fare that is neither taxed nor monitored by any type of government. Although this practice contributes significantly to development and economic growth, it is often stigmatized as an urban mistake and little is known about how this system functions. The purpose of this research is to understand the characteristics of ICS and the value that it provides to cities. The city of Quito, Ecuador was used as an analytical case study because of its similarity with many other developing cities within the Andean region of Latin America. Results indicate that Quito’s ICS is significantly improving quality of life as well as contributing to the resiliency of the city. Without any other transportation service available to Quito’s peripheral communities, capturing the value that this informal system provides may help change its stigma as an urban mistake and, instead, offer strategies to promote urban interventions towards more inclusive and sustainable solutions.