In many cities, cars carrying a Zipcar logo have become a familiar sight. The company, based in Cambridge, Mass., maintains a fleet of more than 11,000 vehicles in 19 cities and on 250 college campuses that members can rent by the hour for short, local trips. For many of Zipcar’s 730,000 members, the service’s low cost and convenience have made it an attractive alternative to owning a car. The popularity of Zipcar caught the attention of Boston-based marketing professors Fleura Bardhi of Northea…

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