A Short History of Ridesharing in North America

USA carpooling with highway signThis excellent review of ridesharing history, practices, trends and issues in North America was recently presented by its author, Susan Shaheen of the University of California, Berkeley, to a Webinar organised by the Ridesharing Institute. You may want to give particular attention to her last two pages which are more forward looking: Key Questions from Workshop and Factors to Consider.

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Get in! (It’s that simple)

ridesharing dc streetblogWe have of late not been giving the necessary attention due to the thousand blossoms of ridesharing, an absolute essential ingredient in the New Mobility Mix of services for our cities, and countryside.  To start to make up for this embarrassing lapse, here is the text of an editorial from last week’s New Zealand Herald in Auckland New Zealand.

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Ridesharing Institute II. If you will, but Public Transport on the first line please

In yesterday’s feature which was intended to inform the exchanges at this week’s TRB session concerning the eventual creation of a continuing program to support and expand ridesharing as a central sustainable transport policy, the point is made that the project should concentrate whatever resources it can stump up on ridesharing, as opposed to traditional public transport which has its own institutional and support system (for better or worse) while ridesharing from a policy and institutional perspective is still an orphan. But Simon Norton begs to differ: Continue reading

Ridesharing Institute – Contribution to today’s TRB discussions

Dear Paul, Susan, and other TRB friends having a look at this proposal this afternoon in DC. This is an excellent first-cut proposal and food for thought on a very important policy topic -- and I want to get firmly behind the basic concept right now.

I wish I could be with you for these important discussions because like at least half of you in this audience I am firmly convinced in the potential for ridesharing in its many diverse forms as a vital and critical means in the process of moving from unsustainable to sustainable transportation. [I am sure that much of what you find here is well known to most of you. But here I am at my desk in Paris and I want to share my best thoughts with you on this. So off we go.] Continue reading

Sharing: Humankind’s oldest technology is ready for a comeback

Long before automobiles and even science humankind discovered sharing tools, housing, roads, and wharfs, a natural way to reduce scarce labour and materials. And long before Adam Smith, we used the “profit” from such sharing to develop specialized skills and knowledge, both of which required sharing, and to build shared infrastructure. Now that we face rising prices for resources, thanks to looming shortages and better understanding of “externalities,” we need to face the prospect of putting on the brakes of our rush to individual consumption. Do we do without or do we share in ways that increase, rather than, reduce, our quality of life? Continue reading

Kaohsiung 2010 Papers: Employer Share/Transport

Rory McMullan, Project Administrator of this year’s Kaohsiung conference, is one of the keynote speakers in the session which is reporting on ride/sharing as a tool for affordable and fair sustainable transport in and around our cities world-wide. In this presentation he undertakes to introduce a range of employer share/transport services for larger pubic sector and industrial employers in Taiwan. Continue reading

Kaohsiung 2010 Papers: On ride-sharing and efficiency

When I was at university the only way I could afford to get home was to share a car with someone. I set up a notice board in the student union to help me find a lift home. The notice board quickly became popular and every weekend there were lots of people offering and seeking lifts. Continue reading

Kaohsiung 2010 Papers: Making ridesharing easy

As I sat in traffic on Auckland’s North-Western motorway, all alone in my cocoon, I could see that others were doing the same. Looking across, I could see each person, alone in their car, and I wondered if they might be heading to the same place as me? Continue reading

Kaohsiung 2010: The Third Way of getting around in cities

Share/transport — the largely uncharted middle ground of low-carbon, high-impact, available-now mobility options that span the broad range that runs between the long dominant poles of “private transport” (albeit on public roads) and “mass transport” (scheduled, fixed-route, usually deficit-financed public services) at the two extremes. The third way of getting around in cities? Come to Kaohsiung in September and let’s talk about sharing. Continue reading

The New Mobility Strategy

Step 1: Say good-bye to Old Mobility:

“Plan Zero” – also known as “old mobility” – with its stress on supply, more vehicles  and more infrastructure as the knee-jerk answer to our mobility problems, has been the favored path for decision-making and investment in the sector over the last 70 years. It is well-known and easy to see where it is leading. Aggressing the planet, costing us a bundle, draining the world’s petroleum reserves, and delivering poor service for the majority . . . Plan Zero is a clear failure. It’s time for Plan A : The fifteen steady steps to sustainable transport and a sustainable city. Continue reading

Musing: Robin Chase on Sharing and Innovation

Robin Chase, widely known as one of the innovators behind Zipcar, has spent a number of years looking at different ways of sharing cars and offers this thoughtful article on her personal blog, Network Musings, which we are pleased to share with you this morning.

I believe there is a strong tie between sharing and the ability to innovate. This post will walk you through the logic. Continue reading

It was there all the time: Putting shared transport to work. * Share Transport 2010 – Conference in Kaohsiung, ROC *

The all but invisible (unless you were looking for it) trend behind true sustainability in the transport sector is . . . sharing. We now know that the only way to significantly reduce the CO2 load of our transportation arrangements is through corresponding reductions in motorized traffic (VMT/VKT). Which means efficiently getting more people and goods in those vehicles still plying the road. And to do this well, we need to learn a lot more about sharing.

Kaohsiung 2010 Conference plan in brief

The objective of this International Conference – the first of its kind — is to examine the concept of shared transport (as opposed to individual ownership) from a multi-disciplinary perspective, with a strong international and Chinese-speaking contingent. The goal of this event is to bring together leading thinkers and sharing transport practitioners from around Taiwan, Asia and the world, and to provide them with a high profile opportunity to share experience, perspectives, ideas, and recommendations on this important trend.

The concept of shared transport is at once old and new, formal and informal, and one that is growing very fast. However to now attention has focused on the technical details of each project and approach — as opposed to stepping back first to gain a broader understanding of the basic human, societal, and economic trends and realities behind this kind of behavior more generally.

But something important is clearly going on, and the Kaohsiung event will be looking at this carefully, in the hope of providing a broader strategic base for advancing not just the individual shared modes, but the sustainable transport agenda more broadly

Background: Sharing in the 21st century – Will it shape our cities?

After many decades of a single dominant city-shaping transportation pattern – i.e., for those who could afford it: owning and driving our own cars, trucks, motorcycles and bicycles, getting into taxis by ourselves, riding in streets that are designed for cars and not much else — there is considerable evidence accumulating that we have already entered into a world of new mobility practices that are changing the transportation landscape in many ways. It has to do with sharing, as opposed to outright ownership. But strange to say, this trend seems to have escaped the attention of the policymakers in many of the institutions directly concerned.

Largely ignored by the transport policy establishment perhaps but transport sharing is an important trend, one that is already starting to reshape at least parts of some of our cities. It is a movement at the leading edge of our most successful (and wealthiest and livable) cities — not just a watered down or second-rate transport option for the poor.

With this in view, we are setting out to come together to examine not just the qualities (and limitations) of individual shared mobility modes, but also to put this in the broader context of why people share. And why they do not. And in the process to stretch our minds to consider what is needed to move toward a new environment in which people often share rather than necessarily only doing things on their own when it comes to moving around in our cities worldwide.

As a contribution to international understanding in this fast emerging but largely unexplored field, the city of Kaohsiung is organizing, together with an international team from the Chinese Institute of Transport (CIT), the Global New Mobility Project, Megatrans Taiwan, and National Taiwan University, a three-day international conference and brainstorming session to take place from 16 – 18 September 2010, in which a number of people working at the leading edge of these matters will come together, first to examine together the general concept of sharing in the 21st century. And then, once this broader frame and understanding has been established, go on to consider how sharing as an organizational principle is working out in each of the individual mobility modes which are rapidly gaining force in cities around the world.

Sharing in Transport (Quick introduction)

Below is our latest list of the shared transport modes to be considered by the conference. (This list to be prioritized, pruned and consolidated as useful for the conference. Only selected topics will be covered by the formal sessions.)

1. Bikesharing
2. Carsharing (includes both formal and informal arrangements
3. Fleetsharing
4. Ridesharing (carpools, van pools, hitchhiking – organized and informal).
5. Taxi sharing
6. Shared Parking
7. Truck/van sharing (combined delivery, other)
8. Streetsharing 1 (example: BRT streets shared between buses, cyclists, taxis, emergency vehicles)
9. Streetsharing 2 (streets used by others for other (non-transport) reasons as well.)
10. Public space sharing
11. Work place sharing (neighborhood telework centers; virtual offices; co-workplace; hoteling)
12. Sharing SVS (small vehicle systems: DRT, shuttles, community buses, etc.)
13. Cost sharing
14. Time sharing
15. Successful integration of public transport within a shared transport city? Including bus and rail
16. Team sharing
17. Knowledge-sharing (including this conference)

Initial conference details (to be finalized)

Event: Three day international conference and planning workshops

Dates: 16-18 September 2010.

Theme: “It was there all the time: Putting shared transport to work in our cities”

Location: City of Kaohsiung, Taiwan, ROC

Hosts: City of Kaohsiung, with support of the Chinese Institute of Transport and National Taiwan University

Speakers
• Presenting the leading edge of thinking, policy and practice in this fast emerging field.
• Panel of distinguished international speakers will be joined by Taiwanese and Chinese leaders

Participants
• Researchers, city administration, activists, NGOs, students, media, and suppliers to the sector
• From Taiwan, China, South-East Asia and all other interested

Participant questionnaire:
Each participant is invited to fill out a short questionnaire prior to registration, to help the organizers structure the conference and in particular the breakout sessions on the various share modes to serve the needs of the group better. Comments and suggestions are also welcomed, and the organizers commit to answering your communications and questions.

Call for papers: (To follow.)

Poster sessions invitations: (To follow.)

Other events in planning stages:
There are several other closely related events that are to be integrated into the program. While final details are not yet available, but here are several of the events that are presently under discussion:

1. Integrating the meeting with the 2010 Kaohsiung Car Free Day (the seventh in their series since 2003)
2. Ditto for a New Mobility Week presently under discussions.
3. A possible New Mobility Master Class (again focusing on Kaohsiung)
4. Working links to the Taipei Low Carbon Cities program
5. Kids Sharing Channel (Open school project)
6. University Media project:
7. A guided tour program for visitors taking them to key sharing and new mobility projects and cities in both Taiwan and the PRC.

Language: Chinese/English. Full translation of all sessions

Sponsors: Under discussion. Both private and public sector partners being invited to participate.

Conference venue: Garden Villa Kaohsiung – http://www.gardenvilla.com.tw/eng/index.php

Media: The program will be media rich, all the way through from using the latest Web, internet, videoconferencing and virtual presence technologies, to extensive use of film and videos to provide a higher impact and more rapid understanding of the principles. Goal is to share conference freely and broadly.

For further information: Contact details just below.

Why Kaohsiung?

The city of Kaohsiung is taking this initiative because it realizes that most of our cities need new thinking and new approaches to resolving the insufficiencies of our present transportation arrangements, theirs included. The city is putting new ideas and real resources into their transport challenges. They have has already introduced one of the first shared bike projects in Asia, are looking into taxi-sharing, have been celebrating Car Free Days since 2003, and are building cycling infrastructure at a steady pace. Carsharing is a new idea for Kaohsiung and visitors will be able to see how they are approaching it as one more shared transport option.

The city has a spanking new metro, but the transport means of choice for about two thirds of all trips is the South Asian special, motorized two wheelers. There is something about “seeing the future” as you observe this striking pattern on the street, and it pushes the mind to consider how to come to grips wiht this new and largely unmapped phenomenon.

So when you come to Kaohsiung for the conference in September, you will also be able to take advantage of a two day new mobility tour of the city’s transportation arrangements, challenges and plans for the future. Planners and policy makers from cities around the world are going to recognize a lot of what they see in Kaohsiung.

The conference materials pack will contain extensive background on and leads to further information on each of these topic areas. To be made available before the meeting convenes.

The conference address is www.kaohsiung.sharetransport.org.

For more, contact:

For Chinese media, participation, sponsor and administrative contacts:
Susan Lin, Project Leader
Mega Trans International Corporation
Hansheng East Road
Banciao City Taipei County 22066 Taiwan
Susanlin0823@gmail.com Tel. +886 922 661 235

For meeting logistics, overall organization and UK contacts:
Rory McMullan, Project Manager
PTRC Education and Research Services Ltd.
1 Vernon Mews, Vernon Street,
W14 0RL United Kingdom
rory.mcmullan@ptrc-training.co.uk Tel. +44 (0) 20 7348 1970 Skype: roryer

For matters relating to content, ACOST, speakers, jury and moderating
Eric Britton, Program Chair:
New Mobility Partnerships
The Commons/EcoPlan international
Le Frêne, 8/10 rue Joseph Bara. 75006 Paris, France
eric.britton@newmobility.org Tel. +331 4326 1323 Skype: newmobility

Guest editorial: What to do when public transportation fails

Recently the city of Philadelphia, experienced a six day long strike by the local transit authority, SEPTA. Subways and buses stopped operating only hours before the Monday morning rush hour leaving workers scrambling for alternative modes of transportation to get to the office.

- Submitted by Timothy Ericson, CityRyde, Philidelphia, PA USA

The strike also left many school aged children stranded and unable to attend classes. Even non-transit riders were frustrated with huge increases in vehicular traffic on all of the city’s roads and hiways. During the strike period, bicycle ridership skyrocketed in Philadelphia as it was the only option for many commuters to reach their destinations. The strike forced many residents to view the bicycle as a primary form of transportation.

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Sixteen practical things you can start to do today to combat climate change, get around in style & meet some nice people

After many decades of a single dominant city-shaping transportation pattern (i.e., old mobility) — there is considerable evidence accumulating that we have already entered into a world of new mobility practices that are changing the transportation landscape in many ways. It has to do with sharing, as opposed to outright ownership. An important pattern that is thus far escaping notice at the top.

“On the whole, you find wealth more in use than in ownership.”
- Aristotle. ca. 350 BC

Sharing in the 21st century. Will it shape our cities?

After many decades of a single dominant city-shaping transportation pattern – i.e., for those who could afford it: owning and driving our own cars, trucks, motorcycles and bicycles, getting into taxis by ourselves, riding in streets that are designed for cars and not much else (i.e., old mobility) — there is considerable evidence accumulating that we have already entered into a world of new mobility practices that are changing the transportation landscape in many ways. It has to do with sharing, as opposed to outright ownership. But strange to say, this trend seems to have escaped the attention of the policymakers in many of the places and institutions directly concerned.

However transport sharing is an important trend, one that is already starting to reshape at least parts of some of our cities. It is a movement at the leading edge of our most successful (and often wealthiest and most livable) cities — not just a watered down or second-rate transport option for the poor. With this in view, we are setting out to examine not just the qualities (and limitations) of individual shared mobility modes, but also to put this in the broader context of why people share. And why they do not. And in the process to stretch our minds to consider what is needed to move toward a new environment in which people often share rather than necessarily only doing things on their own when it comes to moving around in our cities worldwide.

Sixteen sharing options you may wish to give some thought to:

1. Bikesharing

2. Carsharing (formal and informal)

3. Fleetsharing

4. Ridesharing (carpools, van pools, hitchhiking, slugging – organized and informal).

5. School share (Walking school bus, walk/bike to school)

6. Taxi sharing

7. Shared Parking

8. Truck/van sharing (combined delivery, other)

9. Streetsharing (example: BRT streets shared between buses, cyclists, taxis, emergency vehicles)

10. Activity sharing (streets used by others for other (non-transport) reasons as well.)

11. Public space sharing

12. Workplace sharing (neighborhood telework centers; virtual offices; co-workplace; hoteling)

13. Sharing SVS (small vehicle systems: DRT, shuttles, community buses, etc.)

14. Time sharing

15. Successful integration of public transport within a shared transport city (Including bus and rail)

16. Knowledge-sharing (including via World Streets)

For more:

1. Lyon Conference: If you want to learn more about this, consider going to Lyon France for their conference on transport sharing later this month (30 November, in French) – http://newmobilityagenda.blogspot.com/2009/11/transportation-sharing-and-sustainable.html
And while you are there, you can do worse to spend some time to see how they are progressing on the sharing front themselves: bikesharing and carsharing are both in place and doing well. And if you keep your eyes open you will see more.

2. Kaohsiung Conference: Or next September think about coming to Kaohsiung Taiwan for their first International Conference on Sharing Transport – see www.kaohsiung.newmobility.org . Again, a city that is already into bike sharing and looking hard at taxi sharing, among others.

3. You: And tell the world about your events, papers, media, accomplishments, problems and your ideas.

4. Us: And stay tuned to World Streets. We do sharing.

5. And now a few words from our sponsor. (30 seconds)

Pedal Power Doc on Sharing: Quick interview with Eric Britton
from Cogent Benger on Vimeo.

Transportation, Sharing and Sustainable Development : Conference in Lyon, France. 30 Nov. 2009

Our entire and often disputatious new mobility family members agree on some things, less on others. But one important, even central point that we keep coming back to is the growing importance of sharing in transportation – as opposed to necessarily having to own everything you move around in. But it is one thing to do it, and quite another to know what you are doing. Which is what the Lyon meeting is all about.

On November 30th a consortium of French university and transport groups and agencies are organizing a one day meeting in Lyon under the title “Modes partagés et mobilité durable” which is bringing together experts from Canada, Switzerland, the US and France reporting on carsharing, bikesharing and ridesharing.

* For full conference details (in French) click to http://entpe.fr/fr/content/download/3839/23547/file/LPA_RENCONTRES.pdf

Here is our loose translation of the opening statement:

The concerns of sustainable development continue to grow. And there is not a day that the transport sector is not singled out as a critical contributor to the mounting problems of pollution, consumption of nonrenewable resources, public health or safety.

At the same time different approaches are emerging to contribute to the achievement of more sustainable transport, including the development of alternatives to the more typical transportation arrangements long favored by planners and policy makers in the past. Shared modes such as carsharing (car clubs), ridesharing (car and van pools) and self-service shared bicycles (PBS or public bicycle systems) are among these emerging alternatives, and are opening up new ways to travel, new ownership arrangements, and new modal choices.

Although shared transport modes are increasingly present on the street and in political discourse aimed at promoting more sustainable transport behavior, there are as yet few tools to allow us to properly assess their contribution. Almost everywhere, carsharing schemes, shared bicycles or preferential measures to favor ridesharing are being implanted, but more often than not without having well structured understanding of their market potential, the condition necessary to favor their success, or an objective assessment of their role in the global transportation system of an agglomeration.

The November 30 meeting in Lyon will be looking at these issues with presentations by scientific experts, operators and politicians. Full information is available on the meeting here (in French).

# # #

World Streets, the New Mobility Agenda and many of our partners and colleagues worldwide are highly interested in the concept and the reality of sharing, and you will continue to see extensive coverage of projects, programs, and events which can help us better understand this important sustainable transport tool. Stay tuned.

Carpoolers Need Meeting Places, Not Databases

- Paul Minett, Trip Convergence Ltd, New Zealand


Casual car pooling in San Francisco and the slug lines in Northern Virginia/Washington DC involve 20,000 people each day forming over 6,500 single-use, three-person car pools, and saving almost 3 million gallons of gasoline per year. Imagine if this system could be spread to 100 cities and operate at a similar size. It would reduce congestion, VMT, fuel use, emissions, and public transport costs while increasing sense of community (because people in car pools talk to each other).

The essence of casual car pooling is that there is no pre-arrangement. The people using the system do not know each other before they share a ride. It is as if there is a taxi stand for carpoolers, with each stand representing a different pre-determined destination. There is no pre-commitment, and the car pool is ready when you are.

This approach flies in the face of conventional wisdom that says people need to know each other before they will share a ride. All efforts by transportation agencies to increase carpooling involve establishing databases for people to use on-line to find a ride-match. Could it be that for carpooling success we need to provide meeting places, not databases?

In New Zealand two cities have put trial flexible carpooling routes into their ‘wish list’ for the upcoming planning period. In Washington State legislators are considering funding two carpooling routes across the SR520 bridge. There are enough seats on the roads, we just need to get them serving the community.

Ref: http://www.flexiblecarpooling.org
http://www.slideshare.net/paulminett/carpoolers-need-meeting-places-not-databases-presentation

Paul Minett – paulminett@tripconvergence.co.nz
Trip Convergence Ltd – http://www.tripconvergence.com
Auckland, New Zealand

Contribution by the author to the world wide collaborative project “Messages for America: World-wide experience, ideas, counsel, proposals and good wishes for the incoming Obama transportation team”. See www.messages.newmobility.org for latest version of this report of the New Mobility Agenda.