More and more travelers are taking advantage of social transportation sharing networks to get to where they want to go at a better budget. By pooling resources around shared needs, these systems enable drivers and passengers to easily connect and travel together during busy commuting times. Vehicle owners are even able to use shared-transport systems to rent their vehicles when not in use.
Gary Hack, a celebrated urban planner, has most recently lent his expertise to a crowdsourced plan in Bogota, Colombia called MyIdealCity. He believes that the future of urban planning is in shared transport:
The days of one-size-fits-all-needs personal transportation is nearing an end. In the future, urbanites will choose among a vast array of transportation possibilities, including car sharing, spot rental, bicycle sharing, buses of all sizes on custom and fixed routes, transport services and many more.
Zimride is one company that is offering peer-to-peer carpooling and ridesharing. The COO John Zimmer told PSFK.com that shared transport and other p2p models of exchange are gaining prominence as an alternative to conventional transportation:
I believe that high costs and large subsequent revenue opportunities are causing the early peer-to-peer disruption to occur in the housing and transportation markets. Companies and individuals are realizing that sharing helps us build a desirable future while providing one of the best solutions to our economic and environmental crisis.
In the U.S. alone, the price tag on urban traffic congestion has risen $27 billion according to Texas A&M’s Transportation Institute’s 2012 Annual Urban Mobility Report.
By relying on peer-to-peer networks which encourage the sharing of resources, shared transport removes excess vehicles from the road, limits fuel costs, and builds community. There is also environmental benefits from shared transport solutions. In Mexico, a startup called Aventones is designing a service around solo commuters to make traveling more efficient and enjoyable, driving down CO2 emissions while increasing social interaction. In Mexico, most people spend around two hours in their car driving to work or school, and almost all of them drive alone. Shared transport solutions will save resources and increase community.
Some interesting examples of shared transport can be found in the city of Bogota, Colombia. For example, the yearly ‘Day Without Cars‘ bans private private vehicles from the streets and is meant to encourage environmentally friendly travel and civic responsibility. ‘Day Without Cars’ is part of an overall trend to place restrictions on car traffic, build an extensive network of nike paths, and increase the efficiency of transport on Bogota.
RelayRides is a nationwide p2p carsharing network. Andre Haddad, its CEO spoke to PSFK.com about his belief that shared transport will become a primary method of transportation in the future:
We believe there is a fundamental shift in the way people view cars. we see an increasing number of people attach the same desires to smartphones, socialize virtually (social networks, text) and consider cars as a utility that is better accessed than owned. In a world where the economics of car ownership, especially in big cities, no longer makes sense, our vision is that shared cars will be the primary type of transportation of the future.
A good example of the shared transport trend is Ridejoy. This San Francisco based start-up offers an online matchmaking service that connects drivers and passengers looking to share the cost of long-distance road trips. Would-be-passengers begin by indicating their travel plans on the site, and are matched with drivers offering to ‘sell’ their extra seats to shared or similar destinations. Instead of going through the process of coordinating pick-up locations and times, cost, and preferences, the Ridejoy app’s built-in features pair users with matching requirements by route. In addition, users can sign up to automatically receive notifications when another person is traveling along the same route. For security purposes, the app includes a feature that allows people to scan their driver’s licenses and passports, which the startup then verifies and allows them to post that to their profile as a badge.
By distributing the costs associated with transportation or ownership, these peer-to-peer exchanges not only save money, but also improve the overall community by removing excess cars off the road, limiting the amount of resources used, and connecting people around shared experiences.
Over the next 6 months, PSFK will be covering urban trends that are changing the cities we live in at psfk.com/my-ideal-city. Contribute your ideas to the future of a city at the MyIdealCity site.