Ridesharing can be made into more attractive cost-saver, study shows

Jan 05, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- The benefits of ridesharing - aka car-pooling - are well known: less traffic, less wear on roads and less fuel consumed, and the ability to engage in pre-office-hours water-cooler talk that can be accomplished without the water cooler.

But, just as with all forms of energy conservation, the benefits don’t come without a cost. If, for example, it’s Jane’s turn to drive and she has to run around town picking up colleagues, it not only costs her and her riders extra time, it also runs up the amount of gasoline they use.

Two University of Illinois researchers have examined these issues in a new study accepted for publication in the journal Transportation Research Part D (Transport and Environment) and posted on its Web site.

Computer science professor Sheldon H. Jacobson and doctoral student Douglas King concluded that while the potential for fuel savings theoretically is substantial, that savings is offset by the time and fuel needed to round up the car-poolers.

“If no additional travel were required for this,” Jacobson said, “the effect of adding one additional passenger in every 100 vehicles would lead to an annual savings of about 800 million gallons of gasoline in the U.S.” If one extra person rode in every 10 vehicles, the savings would increase substantially, to about 7.5 billion gallons of fuel - 5.4 percent of the fuel consumed by these vehicles annually.

The researchers said they calculated that the value of time for travelers must fall below $4.24 per hour for car passengers and $4.68 per hour for light-truck passengers for ridesharing to be an attractive alternative on average. “Ridesharing becomes much more attractive when the amount of travel time required to add passengers makes up a small part of the trip,” Jacobson said.

Ridesharing also could be made more attractive if parking fees and road tolls were increased, Jacobson and King concluded. If, for example, a $1 cost of fees and tolls is added to each vehicle trip, the value of travel time nearly doubles, to $9.05 per hour for cars and $8.68 for light trucks.

“More substantial increases in parking fees and road-toll costs can make ridesharing the most rational economic choice for many travelers,” Jacobson said.

Provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Explore further: Computer scientists can predict the price of Bitcoin

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Lockheed Martin pursues compact fusion reactor concept

Oct 16, 2014

Lockheed Martin is making news this week with declarations about putting the Atomic Age on Restart and advancing in the realm of energy. "We are on the fast track to developing compact nuclear fusion reactors ...

Obstacles to a revolution in air technology

Oct 13, 2014

When in 1873 Jules Verne published his novel of planet-trotting high adventure, the world was on the verge of an explosion in global travel. New trans-continental railways and the Suez canal promised an increas ...

Scientists probe leak risk from seabed CO2 stores

Oct 02, 2014

A UK-led international research team has carried out the first experiment to recreate what would happen if CO2 started leaking after being stored deep under the sea floor. Their findings add weight to the ide ...

Recommended for you

Tablets, cars drive AT&T wireless gains—not phones

3 hours ago

AT&T says it gained 2 million wireless subscribers in the latest quarter, but most were from non-phone services such as tablets and Internet-connected cars. The company is facing pricing pressure from smaller rivals T-Mobile ...

Twitter looks to weave into more mobile apps

4 hours ago

Twitter on Wednesday set out to weave itself into mobile applications with a free "Fabric" platform to help developers build better programs and make more money.

Blink, point, solve an equation: Introducing PhotoMath

5 hours ago

"Ma, can I go now? My phone did my homework." PhotoMath, from the software development company MicroBlink, will make the student's phone do math homework. Just point the camera towards the mathematical expression, ...

Google unveils app for managing Gmail inboxes

5 hours ago

Google is introducing an application designed to make it easier for its Gmail users to find and manage important information that can often become buried in their inboxes.

User comments : 0