Article from Expat Ideas

The carpooling, also the ride-sharing industry, has only recently become a global topic. However, carpooling was formally practiced in the US in the mid-1970s, post 1973 oil crisis. Rising oil costs for using a personal vehicle for transportation for only one passenger made it prudent to drive more than one passenger, usually co-workers commuting daily to and from the same workplace, splitting transportation costs.

Federal government in the US started giving incentives to carpooling drivers, growing the number of carpool lanes–the so called, High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes–across many highways when the trend started fading. Those lanes were also allowing for relief from ever growing traffic jams and gridlocks, as the number of vehicles on the roads was ever increasing.

Carpooling (also car-sharing, ride-sharing, lift-sharing and covoiturage), is the sharing of car journeys so that more than one person travels in a car. By having more people using one vehicle, carpooling reduces each person’s travel costs such as fuel costs, tolls, and the stress of driving.

Carpooling is seen as a more environmentally friendly and sustainable way to travel as sharing journeys reduces carbon emissions, traffic congestion on the roads, and the need for parking spaces. Businesses and government authorities encourage carpooling to avoid high pollution, improve traffic conditions and reduce high fuel prices.

Carpooling is more popular for people who work in places with more jobs nearby, and who live in places with higher residential densities. It is common for passengers to join full or part of the journey, and give a contribution based on the distance that they travel.

This gives carpooling extra flexibility, and enables more people to share journeys and save money. Many companies and local authorities have introduced programs to promote carpooling, there has been significant push from the government as well to improve road conditions and avoid accidents. This practice can also be safe for people travelling long distances and late or odd hours for work.

No matter whether you call it a carpool, van pool, slug lane or ride share, the bottom line is saving money, protecting the environment and building community. Some big urban areas provide ride share pickup locations — sometimes known as slug lanes — where drivers can pick up a stranger while coming in or out of the city. Often, the areas where these ride share arrangements are most popular are those where highways contain carpool lanes designated for vehicles with a specific minimum number of people, usually two or three. This gives drivers an added incentive to ferry passengers.