Rideshare is the concept of two travelers sharing a vehicle because they are heading in the same direction.
The main reasons behind ridesharing include minimizing traffic congestion, lowering emissions by vehicles and reducing the number of trips to and from the destination.
There are various forms of transportation that are mainly considered in road sharing, including vanpool, car pool and public transport.
While bicycles are a form of transport, they are not considered in carpooling shared rides.
Ridesharing is also referred to as alternative transportation, transportation demand management and mobility. Over the years, this form of transport has gone through various changes, some of which are discussed in this article.
Historical Background of Shared Rides
For the old folks, the word ridesharing or car pooling brings back the memory of bell-bottom pants or even the ‘No Gas’ line warnings used back in the days. As such, the carpooling initiative was very popular in the 1970s.
According to the MIT’s Research, the use of carpooling services is said to have started as early as the invention of the very first automobile and was at its peak during the late ’70s.
Some sources suggest that the concept of carpooling started after the introduction of the first American automobile—the Model-T.
By the year 1914, the United States economy fell into a recession, which lend to the flooding of affordable car models into the market. At around this time, car owners in San Francisco started offering seats in their cars to passengers—at a price similar to that in a street car fair referred to as a jitney.
By the end of that year, the ‘jitney; spirit had spread throughout the country—all the way to Maine. As the new carpooling concept was spreading and demonstrating its potential, there was a growing concern by the various streetcar operators over the then new form of competition that was brought about by collusion of the regional as well as city governments.
Since then the survival or ending of the carpooling spirit solely relied on government policy. The introduction of new liability regulations lend to a decline in the popularity of ride sharing by about 90 percent.
The Rise and fall of Ridesharing
The popularity of carpooling remained low until World War II, when the government reversed tack. This move was an effort by the government to conserve resources for use in war.
In this regard, the government worked with the oil industry to raise advertisement money amounting to$8 million. This money was used on advertisement campaigns urging drivers to accommodate passengers in their cars as they drove past the US PAW, 1946 (commonly referred to as the car clubs in those days).
It was this advertisement campaign that yielded such posters as ‘When you ride alone, you ride with Hitler’—a poster that was popular during World War II.
As a result, the promotion of carpooling became a joint venture by the government, car and oil companies; hence its effects were desirable.
The spirit of carpooling died again after the war as a result of reduced emphasis on resource conservation by the government after the war.
However, ridesharing gained popularity again in 1974 following the signing of the Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act by President Nixon.
Following the signing of this new act, the government was the one financing carpooling initiatives. After Nixon, came President Carter who continued supporting these initiatives.
In this regard, Carter created the National Task Force on Ridesharing and promoted these initiatives as a way of easing air pollution.
Additionally, President Cater tried to lower parking fees, which encouraged increased use of single occupancy vehicles. This being the case, the 1970s is among the most pronounced eras of car sharing in history.
Ridesharing News and Statistics
Based on the findings of the Census bureau, about 23.5 percent of the travelers in America were already carpooling by the late 1970s. This was a large figure, compared to the 11 percent of carpooling cases reported in 2011.
In 1980s, government support on this initiative reduced the price of petroleum products declined and disposal income increased.
This lend to the decline in the popularity of car sharing initiatives. Based on various Ridesharing news sources, there has been a considerable renaissance of the carpooling spirit.
While this recent rise is not as a result of government support, an increasing number of Washington DC commuters have joined various carpools to help them share gas and tolls cost.
Factors Fueling the Recent Rise in Carpooling
In recent years, cases of strangers sharing a car in order to save on fuel cost have been on the increase. This increase in real time ridesharing services may be attributed to the increase in fuel prices in 2005.
Additionally, the reduced disposable income—caused by the 2008 financial crisis—is also believed to have a role to play in the increased number of carpooling cases in the recent past.
Following this recent growth in car sharing initiatives, various entrepreneurs have noticed the business gap it presents.
As such, they are stepping in to offer solutions—mostly through social networks. Such solutions have been helping individuals find ridesharing partners with ease.
Modern Ride Sharing Services
Technological improvement has played a significant role in making ride sharing popular yet again. For instance, the use of Smart phones and social networks has made it easier and more convenient for travelers to find suitable real time ridesharing partners.
Developers have also stepped in and are offering an array of beneficial apps, in this regard. With these apps, drivers can instantly locate passengers on the move and pair with them for the purpose of carpooling.
Such efforts have made ridesharing more viable than it ever was. While it may be hard to tell what the future holds for carpooling initiatives, trends indicate that its popularity is likely to increase in the coming years.
As per Feb, 2012, a barrel of crude oil was priced above $100. While oil price has since declined to about $46 per barrel, travelers still find carpooling a good way of saving on fuel. As such, the popularity of carpooling is expected to increase in coming years–even with the lack of support from the government and big corporations.
Technological advancements have made it possible for travelers to pair up and share a car in a safe and secure environment. Currently, there are several ridesharing apps with certain vehicle requirements that you may use to locate drivers and travelers with a common destination.
Sharing a car with a driver or a passenger will allow the two of you to share fuel and toll costs. At the end of the RideShare, you will have spent less than you would have spent, if you were to travel alone.