Carpooling (also car-sharing or ride-sharing) is the sharing of car journeys so that more than one person travels in a car.
There are several types of carpooling
- Designated Driver Carpool: this carpool generally has one driver and one or more passengers. The passengers may pay a daily, weekly or monthly fare based on expenses such as fuel, freeway or parking.
- Employer Carpool: some employers encourage employees to share the ride to and from work by allowing the use of company vehicles. As most company vehicles sit idle in parking lots after business hours this system can benefit both employers and employees. Employers can save their parking for paying customers while demonstrating their environmental responsibility and employees can save money.
- Others: welfare vehicles, school buses, taxi, bus, or messenger pool
Benefits from car pooling
Carpooling is significantly correlated with transport operating costs, including gas prices and commute length, and with measures of social capital, such as time spent with others, time spent eating and drinking, and being unmarried. However, carpooling is significantly less likely among people who spend more time at work, older workers, and homeowners. The benefits to carpoolers include:
- Cost savings: the Canadian Automobile Association estimated that, in 2007, the average vehicle owner spends between $8,500 and $11,000 annually on ownership and operating costs, depending on the number of kilometres driven and the type of vehicle owned. Carpooling splits those costs among drivers, or reduces driving costs by sharing vehicle space.
- Fuel saving: for example a car 1500 CC consumes fuel around a liter per 12 kilometer. If the person who drove four different cars from the same starting point to the same destination with a distance of 24 km., it takes up to eight liters of fuel. However, if four people share a car trip together, it use only a car and consume fuel around 2.5 – 3 liters. Hence, the fuel consumption was reduced to five liters.
- Health benefits: carpooling reduces the number of vehicles on the road, which reduces GHG emissions and promotes better air quality. But aside from cleaner air, there are also additional mental benefits for carpoolers. Anecdotal evidence suggests that carpooling can promote a feeling of community by having companions in the car.
- Preferential or free parking: employers, universities and governance often offer some form of preferential parking, leading to time saving to find parking area.
- Better air quality: fewer cars on the road reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve local air quality. Results from a 2003 review of the city of Calgary’s carpooling initiative, for example, found that the 143 carpools that were formed that year reduced annual GHG emissions by 854 tonnes.
- Less traffic congestion: giving people better alternatives to driving alone is one of the most effective ways to tackle congestion.