Evolution of Carpooling – Reactive to Proactive?
Born out of a necessity to conserve rubber and fuel for wartime efforts in North America, carpooling has evolved to play a critical role in planning city infrastructure and tackling ‘avoidable’ congestion costs.
It is estimated that across eight capital cities in Australia, avoidable congestion costs businesses a combined 8 billion dollars annually. The social and wider-spread avoidable congestion cost is said to be 16.5 billion with an estimate of 37.3 billion by 2030.
As Gen-X slowly see their childhood TV shows become a reality, the current hype around automation needs an underlying behavioural shift to shared communities. Enter new technology based on an old concept - ridesharing.
69% percent of Australians still drive to work. Low occupancy within these vehicles drives our congestion and infrastructure issues. We are on the verge of major technological advances in transport and automation. However, great advances can be missed if the underlying eco-system is not ready to handle it. As city and regional centres experience further population growth, the discussion around remodelling the economics of transportation and infrastructure must also gain momentum. Fuel excise is still the largest revenue generator for road infrastructure, contributing 39% of revenue raised in 2016 and is no doubt a roadblock for policymakers.
In reality, the perfect vehicle for change exists and has been in our pockets for a while now. Smartphone technology has allowed us to change the commuter model saving not only time and money for individuals but also provide a mechanism to help drive sustainable practices through reduced environmental impacts. GIS technology that underpins our addiction to smartphone booking applications may pose a perfect mechanism for policy change.
Where we are now – riding the autonomous vehicle hype cycle – rideshare and carpooling technology has a major role to play. Not to drive adoption but to pave the way for an efficient experience for future commuters by simply reducing the time spent getting from A to B.
From the humble beginnings of writing your name down on a notice board, carpooling services have evolved to instant trip matching, smart parking with guaranteed spaces and real-time data supporting environmental impact reduction.
The exciting part of this evolution comes as we harness the insights gathered through shared mobility into strategic planning for the future, supporting our need to cut congestion and curb emissions.
Mind you, flying autonomous cars kills this whole congestion theory and it would be pretty cool to book a flying rideshare driven by Rosie – maybe the government will introduce a ‘Jetsons Excise’ at that point.
The question still looms, how will government utilise the existing technology to generate infrastructure funding as we move away from petroleum-based transportation and towards autonomous vehicles. Or is the solution already available through higher occupancy rideshare services reducing infrastructure maintenance costs and avoidable congestion?
Cut spending and congestion…seems like a win for the taxpayer any day of the week.