Real-time ridesharing

Real-time ridesharing

Real-time ridesharing (also known as instant ridesharing, dynamic ridesharing, ad-hoc ridesharing, or dynamic carpooling) is a service that arranges one-time shared rides on very short notice.[1] This type of carpooling generally makes use of three recent technological advances:[2]

  • GPS navigation devices to determine a driver's route and arrange the shared ride
  • Smartphones for a traveler to request a ride from wherever they happen to be
  • Social networks to establish trust and accountability between drivers and passengers

These elements are coordinated through a network service, which can instantaneously handle the driver payments and match rides using an optimization algorithm.

Real-time ridesharing is promoted as a way to better utilize the empty seats in most passenger cars, thus lowering fuel usage and transport costs. It can serve areas not covered by a public transit system and act as a transit feeder service.[3] It is also capable of serving one-time trips, not only recurrent commute trips.[4] Furthermore, it can serve to limit the volume of car traffic, thereby reducing congestion and mitigating traffic's environmental impact.

One potential drawback may be economic harm to the auto industry due to sharing; however, some auto companies such as Daimler are quite supportive of real-time ridesharing research.[2] Opposition may also come from taxi companies and public transit operators.[4]



Early real-time ridesharing projects began in the 1990s, but they faced obstacles such as the need to develop a user network and a convenient means of communication.[5] Gradually the means of arranging the ride shifted from telephone to internet, email, and smartphone; and user networks were developed around major employers and universities.[6] As of 2006, the goal of taxi-like responsiveness still generally eluded the industry; "next day" responsiveness was considered the state of the art.[7]

Most instant ridesharing services are still in their early stages. Successful pilot projects have been completed, but no real-time ridesharing company seems to have yet reached a critical mass of users.

The following organizations exhibit some of the characteristics of real-time ridesharing:

  • Avego
  • PickupPal
  • Zimride
  • Zebigo
  • Amovens USA
  • Covivo(Carpal)
  • flinc
  • Carticipate
  • GreenRiders
  • Megacarpool
  • Instant Ride
  • HitchPlanet
  • Sharepool

Two dynamic ridesharing pilots in Norway received government funds from Transnova in 2011. One pilot in Bergen had 31 passenger in private cars during one day. Thirty-nine users acted as drivers or passengers between June 30 and September 15 with four ridesharing episodes or more. The phone apps that was used was Avego Driver[8] and cell client,[9] a prototype developed for the NPRA of Norway. The other pilot is run by the company Sharepool.[10]

Some more advanced real-time ridesharing features have been proposed but not implemented. For example, longer trips might be facilitated using "multihop" matches in which passengers change cars to reach their final destination.

External links

See also


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