The term shared mobility is new, but the concept is not. All shared mobility involves is “transportation services that are shared among users”¹, which could include carsharing, ridesharing, and even public transportation. Carpooling can be considered part of the shared mobility world as well.

Carpooling peaked in the 1970s as a result of the oil crisis when people were looking for more cost-effective ways to get to work². Carpooling was more convenient, saved on parking and gas costs, and provided a feeling of community. If these benefits sound familiar to you, it’s because they are the same benefits the shared mobility industry often touts as well.

Carpooling has declined in popularity as oil prices have since decreased, but there are growing reasons why people should choose carpooling as a way to get around the city, especially to work². In America, less than 10% of commuters share a ride to work, with 77% of commuters driving to work alone³. Sharing your ride with another passenger results in decreased traffic congestion, less emissions, and better quality of life for the community³.
On the green side, carpooling is a great way to contribute to a more liveable, clean environment. On the cost side, it is economical because costs are split; even vehicle maintenance costs can be split if needed. Carpooling is not dead yet – Lyft, for example, offers a carpool service as well as their more famous rideshare service. In their San Francisco operations, 50% of total Lyft rides are done through their carpool service; 30% in New York City³.

When the City of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, implemented a new carpooling initiative, they were able to reduce their annual greenhouse gas emissions by 854 tonnes through 143 carpools². Similarly, Deloitte found that 27% of commutes could be done via a carpool program and contribute to societal savings of $30.3 billion annually³. These savings would be in the form of reduced private vehicle maintenance, lower congestion costs, and decreased need to improve road infrastructure³.

What are your thoughts on carpooling? How can today’s technological growth assist in making carpooling more commonplace?