The current technology along with modern urban transportation will offer new ways to move within cities more efficiently, with a reduced time and money expenditure, less energy wastage and less pollution.
Analyzing the way people move in big cities, a source of great inefficiency can be seen: most private cars are driven only by the owner; even though each one of them could carry five people, with almost the same power consumption and the same occupancy of space on the street.
Thus, there is an abundance of unused seats that can be leveraged to carry more people in fewer cars, thanks to the technology available today.
Benefits of filling empty car seats
In general, a fewer number of cars in circulation, will be a great relief not only for traffic congestion, but also for reducing the air pollution.
Traffic jams can be stressful to drivers every day, and result in loss of time and a higher than necessary fuel consumption. This usually happens during peak hours (when the majority of people go to work at nearly the same time), and they are caused by the simultaneous movement of a number of vehicles exceeding the capacity of the streets and roads.
In cities, pollution is mainly caused due to the exhaust of internal combustion engines in cars. We suffer its adverse effects, especially in areas with anticyclone weather conditions characterized by their weak winds with no clouds, which do not favour the dispersion of pollutants trapped at low levels, resulting in very poor air quality. Often, the authorities are forced to impose traffic restrictions to mitigate pollution.
All of these problems can be alleviated with a better use of the available means of transport; especially occupying as best as possible the empty seats of private cars which are already in circulation.
Advantages for those who share trips
In addition, people who harness the cars’ capacity utilization, sharing them during their daily trips, will benefit from substantial savings in time and travel expenses.
Passengers currently need to chain together various means of public transport, and spend more than an hour of their time to get from home to work. When these individuals travel as passengers in somebody else’s car, they enjoy a comfort and speed comparable to a taxi, while keeping costs as low as the bus fare.
Drivers, who are currently throwing money down the drain, by bearing all the costs of running a car on their own (amortization of the purchase, parking, fuel, insurance, taxes, maintenance etc.); will enjoy savings of up to 75 percent of such expenses if they share their ride with people willing to share costs, while on their way to work.
How technology can help to fill empty car seats
The wide use of smartphones and their data communication, navigation and location capabilities facilitate and greatly simplify the coordination of several travelers to share the cost of using a single car.
In this prototype, you can experience it. It allows to fill on the fly, the empty seats of the car with up to four passengers, and how much each one of them gets to save.
Once the advantages of urban real-time ride-sharing have been explained (the second BlaBlaCar generation), and the technology is proven to be usable, please tell us what else would be required for you to adapt to ride-sharing on a day-to-day basis? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
Please note that this article expresses the opinions of the author and does not reflect the views of Move Forward.