Rideshare programs help people share vehicles to commute together. Also known as carpooling, ridesharing conserves fuel and reduces vehicle emissions, travel costs, traffic, and parking needs. Some local and regional governments provide incentives for ridesharing such as access to high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes.
Vehicle fleet managers, corporate decision makers, and public transportation planners can support rideshare programs by encouraging employees to participate in employee rideshares, ridematching systems, and car sharing.
Employee rideshare programs help coworkers carpool. These programs take advantage of the fact that coworkers commute to the same destination and are familiar with and accountable to one another. Rideshares can be coordinated through websites or informal meetings. Some employers encourage ridesharing by offering financial incentives, giving parking preference to carpoolers, providing a guaranteed ride home, or arranging and subsidizing a vanpool.
Ridematching systems help commuters coordinate their rides by identifying potential matches based on location and schedule. Ridematching websites can feature rider or driver reviews, payment transfers, fuel savings calculators, and options for finding back-up rides for special circumstances. The National Center for Transit Research maintains a list of ridematching systems.
A 2009 survey by the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board showed that about 28,000 carshare members in the Washington, D.C., metro area reduced daily vehicle miles traveled by 14,000 miles.
Carsharing programs provide individuals and companies with vehicles for limited use. This service is popular in metropolitan areas where not everyone owns a car and for companies that need specialty vehicles only occasionally. Members gain some of the benefits of vehicle ownership without all the costs. Carsharing programs such as City CarShare charge an annual membership fee and an hourly fee for use. Other programs like Philly CarShare let members choose from rate plans based on needs. Carshare services such as Zipcar have found their participants drive fewer miles every year than car owners. Some carsharing companies even offer alternative fuel vehicles, such as all-electric vehicles.