With people driving more than ever, opting to share rides with friends, family members and others with shared interests can also lead to significant fuel savings and significantly decrease vehicle miles traveled (VMT). In addition to the savings, carpooling helps by fulfilling trips to and from areas of work and leisure, enabling access to other transportation services such as Park and Ride or transit, and enhancing mobility access to and from a special event.
Social carpooling through the GoEzy App allows users to find carpooling partners through groups that a user chooses to create and/or join. In this way, the user is not matched with a stranger. Based on Metropia’s research and available literature, users are more willing to carpool with others with whom they have some form of social relationship, such as coworkers, members of a recreational or professional club or organization, or those attending the same event.
Metropia designed the social carpooling mechanism to overcome the mental barrier that hinders the willingness to take part in a conventional carpooling program. A carpooling group can be set up as public or private by any individual; however, public groups for a time-bound special event where event attendees may share a common origin/destination before/after the event, may also be formed by transportation or government agencies. Public groups are open to the public and every app user can opt-in to join the group. Private groups are better formed by individuals or organizations who wish to control or manage the members of the groups.
Social Carpooling: How it Works
Metropia’s social carpooling follows a simple user journey as illustrated in Figure 1 below. The user can browse the details of the trip (e.g., pick-up/drop-off locations and time of the trip) by tapping the details and may either accept or reject the carpool pairing. Upon pairing, both users are notified, and communication tools are provided within the app to facilitate a smooth passenger and driver experience.
Figure1: Social Carpooling User Journey
Matching for and participating in a carpool within GoEzy is an entirely personalized experience. From the onset, users may either join an existing carpool group or create one and invite their own friends, family, or coworkers to join; in this way, they limit rideshare matches to within their own social circles and level of comfort. A fully customizable profile page lets users express their individuality by uploading a photo, writing a brief personal bio, and sharing links to social media profiles if desired.
When planning a trip, users provide their departure time window, origin and destination, whether they’d like to ride or drive, how much additional time they’re willing to devote to driving the carpool, and more. Once matched with members from their groups, users may select which individuals they’d like to invite to carpool, and if invited by someone else, users have the option to accept or decline. A unique “Do not match again” feature allows users to discreetly prevent the system from matching them with a specific user moving forward. Figure 2 illustrates sample screenshots for a carpool formation.
Figure 2: Carpool Formation
There are instances where two or more users may arrange to carpool together offline in the real world (e.g., two coworkers decided to have lunch together at a restaurant). In these instances, scheduling a carpool within GoEzy and going through the formal matching process is unnecessary; however, those users may wish to record their carpool in-app either to see the carpool’s contribution to their savings accrue in the Trip Log feature or to participate in an employer-sponsored campaign or contest. In fact, GoEzy’s Instant Carpool feature was designed with this purpose in mind.
Although Instant Carpools forego the in-app scheduling and matching process, the feature serves to verify carpooling activities for formal tracking and rewarding purposes, as illustrated in Figure 3. To start an Instant Carpool, both drivers and passengers must open the feature on their phones. After entering their destination, the driver’s phone will generate a unique QR code, which is to be scanned by the passengers. These scans will generate a rider confirmation screen on the driver’s app. Once all passengers are confirmed by the driver, GoEzy will guide the driver to the planned destination. Along the way, the GoEzy app monitors GPS signals from all carpool participants for an added layer of verification, proving that the parties did indeed share a ride as indicated.
Figure 3: Instant Carpool