Ridesharing and Carsharing
Rideshare programs help connect people to travel together. Carsharing, on the other hand, is a form of shared vehicle ownership to provide members with vehicles for limited use. Ridesharing, also called carpooling, can reduce travel costs, traffic, and parking demand. Some local and regional governments provide incentives to encourage ridesharing, such as access to high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, discounted fees on roads or lanes, and special parking privileges for vehicles with multiple passengers, or tax breaks for companies with a high level of pooling among employees.
Corporate decision makers and public transportation planners can support rideshare programs by encouraging employees and consumers to participate in employee rideshares or ridematching systems.
Employee rideshare programs help coworkers carpool. These programs take advantage of the fact that coworkers commute to the same destination and are familiar with and accountable to one another. Rideshares can be coordinated through internal company websites, smartphone apps, social media, or informal meetings. Some employers encourage ridesharing by offering financial incentives, giving parking preference to carpoolers, providing a guaranteed ride home, or arranging and subsidizing a vanpool.
Ridematching systems help commuters coordinate their rides by identifying potential matches based on location and schedule. Ridematching websites can feature rider or driver reviews, fuel savings calculators, and options for finding back-up rides for special circumstances. Some facilitate money transfers so that riders can cover costs. Digital Trends has posted a list of carpool and rideshare apps. Companies like Uber and Lyft use apps that facilitate rideshare through their UberPool and Lyft Line services by matching location and time needs in real time, introducing riders to their driver (with ratings of both) and passing the inherent cost savings of rideshare on to both the riders and the drivers.
The following resources can provide ideas for how to support rideshare programs:
- Massport Board Moves Forward with Ground Transportation Plan – The Massachusetts Port Authority incentivizes ridesharing to reduce congestion around Boston Logan International Airport with discounted pickup and drop-off fees for shared rides.
- "Five Free Rides" Incentive Program – The San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Commission partnered with a ride share company to offer an incentive for five free rides.
Carsharing programs provide individuals and companies with vehicles for limited use. This service is popular in metropolitan areas where alternative modes of transportation are prevalent, parking is expensive, and many people need specialty vehicles only occasionally. Members of carsharing programs also gain some of the benefits of vehicle ownership without all the costs.