Rideshare programs help people share vehicles and 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 internal company websites, smartphone apps, social media, 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. Some facilitate money transfers so that riders can cover costs. The U.S. Public Interest Research Group has posted a list of ridematching systems by city. Newer apps such as UberPool and Lyft Line facilitate rideshare by matching location and time needs in real-time, introducing riders to their driver (with ratings of the driver), and passing the inherent cost savings of rideshare on to both the riders and the drivers.
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 parking is expensive 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 Zipcar, Car2Go, and Enterprise CarShare offer different plans and pricing for businesses, organizations, and individuals. Other programs such as Turo enable someone to borrow a vehicle from a private owner. Carshare services have found that their participants drive fewer miles every year than car owners. This is likely because carshare drivers face a higher per-mile cost (yet lower up-front cost) than car owners so they have greater financial incentive to reduce their VMT. Some carsharing companies even offer alternative fuel vehicles, such as all-electric vehicles.