Technology enabling greater vehicle utilisation


We have posted in the past a number of articles about car sharing, with companies such as GoGet operating in Australia and Zipcar in
the US. Robin Chase, the founder Zipcar, talked at TED in 2007 about a range of
other technology-enabled ways of reducing car usage, the first being technology
to enable ‘ridesharing’ – car pooling for the modern age.

A number of smartphone applications have recently been
introduced, as reported by SmartCompany. We are really supportive of the
different ways that each of these companies have approached the same problem;
there could be many applications and learnings for our industry. These apps
include:

Zimride is based on a simple premise: drivers post where
they’re going, how many seats they have available and how much they want to
charge per seat. Potential passengers can submit their payment info, and
drivers have the leeway to decide whether to accept or decline an offer (both
passengers and drivers have profile info and reviews). Passengers get a full
refund if the driver doesn’t show up.

Reward Ride will use a points-based system to
connect riders and drivers with riders paying by their purchased ‘points’. When
a ride is completed, drivers receive points from their passengers that they can
then use for other rides.

Zebigo features a system that matches riders and drivers taking
into account profile and route, and riders pay a distance-based fee to drivers.
There’s also the added benefit of an optional background check on your
potential car buddy.

Avego offers a real-time ridesharing service that matches drivers
with riders who have a similar destination. Avego pays drivers for gas, and passengers
pay Avego a small fee. Both passengers and drivers can also rate each other for
future reference. 
Of these apps, only Avego is available outside the US
at this stage.

Ridesharing is the next logical step from car sharing;
not only increasing utilisation, but also reducing the number of cars on the
road.

Is the next step after that to reduce cars on the
roads? According to Robin Chase, its technology-enabled wireless road pricing,
taking congestion charges to the next level in charging car owners based on how
much they use the roads.

You can watch Robin’s talk in full on TED’s website
below.


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