DIY Carpooling In DC: Solving Gridlock Through ‘Slugging’
10,000 workers a day use a 35-year old carpooling method, without any government intervention.
Transportation officials wanting to reduce highway traffic are starting to look toward the Washington, DC area’s 35-year-old practice of grass-roots carpooling called ‘slugging.’ Legendarily starting at a Virginia Big Boy restaurant parking lot with Pentagon workers wanting to speed their trip via the then new I-395 HOV lane, slugging is now the travel method for an estimated 10,000 DC commuters a day.
Every morning, these commuters meet in park-and-ride lots along the interstate in northern Virginia. They then ride, often in silence, without exchanging so much as first names, obeying rules of etiquette but having no formal organization. No money changes hands, although the motive is hardly altruistic. Each person benefits in pursuit of a selfish goal: For the passenger, it’s a free ride; for the driver, a pass to the HOV lane, and both get a faster trip than they would otherwise. Even society reaps rewards, as thousands of cars come off the highway.