Google Jumps into Carpooling. Here’s How it could Change Cities

July 6, 2015

4:00 pm

(Ferenstein Wire) – Google is reportedly jumping into the ridesharing business. According to Haaretz, the search giant is launching a pilot carpooling service in three Israeli cities on top of their popular driving directions app, Waze. The feature, RideWith, allows riders to pay for a trip with a fellow resident going in a similar direction. Google is expected to take a small 15% fee.

Google is careful not to bill it as a competitor to Uber, as drivers are limited to two trips per day. So, unlike Uber, drivers don’t make a living off of it. The immediate goal, according to Haaretz, is to scale carpooling by allowing riders and drivers to efficiently match their trips. Drivers make a bit of cash, riders get a cheap trip, and roads are less congested.

Should the company be successful, it could speed up the advancement toward universal carpooling, where most trips are shared with a fellow resident. It is difficult to overstate the potential benefits to a city that universal carpooling can bring.

A few academic studies have found that if technology could efficiently allow carpooling, roads would be much less congested and reduce commute times. MIT found that in New York City, 95% of all taxi trips could be shared. Universal carpooling would dramatically cut congestion, commute times, dependence on oil and environmental impact. Ultimately, better carpooling could reduce trip times by 30%.

Eventually, as Google and Uber advance self-driving technology, researchers from the Organization for Cooperation and Development (OECD) believe that a roving fleet of robotic “taxibots” will overhaul transportation needs. These self-driving shuttles can efficiently route everyone in a city to their destination, while minimizing travel time and congestion. In their simulation, a fleet of carpooling taxibots can satisfy everyone’s transportation needs with 90% fewer cars.

“For small and medium-sized cities, it is conceivable that a shared fleet of self-driving vehicles could completely obviate the need for traditional public transport,” the researchers surmise.

For now, Google is just piloting the concept, but the eventual ramifications could be profound.

*For more stories, subscribe to the Ferenstein Wire newsletter here.

Did you like this article?

Get more delivered to your inbox just like it!

Sorry about that. Try these articles instead!

The Ferenstein Wire is a syndicated news service. For inquires, email the editor at greg at greg ferenstein dot com
Syndicated News. Data-Driven. ADHD Friendly.

  • Shares

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)
Startup_Mixology_300x250
.ME Tech.co search 300x600

Get personal with .ME

Make your domain name as unique and memorable as you are. Get creative, get .ME!