Assessing Ridesharing´s Potential To Reduce Congestion During Commute
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In light of repeated traffic congestion during peak hour in combination with low car occupancy rates, an increasing interest in ridesharing has emerged. Ridesharing is defined as shared trips in a private car, between travellers with somewhat coinciding trips and travel plans, where the driver partly gets compensated by the passenger for the trip expenses. The benefit of ridesharing lies in its potential to reduce traffic congestion. This potential largely depends on the replaced mode of ridesharing adopters. To reach the desired result of traffic reduction potential, ridesharing passengers need to replace driving-modes, as this would lead to fewer cars during peak hour. An online structured survey was performed amongst 134 commuters registered with a Norwegian ridesharing provider. Our objective was to assess the actual traffic reduction caused by ridesharing, and to better understand ridesharing users, to suggest policy that would promote enhanced traffic reduction by ridesharing. We collected user´s socio-demographic data, their transportation mode options, and their ridesharing behaviour. Our results suggest that ridesharing drivers were to a large extend previous car drivers, while ridesharing passengers previously used non-driving modes. Thus, this suggests an impaired potential for traffic congestion reduction. Ridesharing passengers seem to choose faster modes, over greener modes, while ridesharing drivers seem to choose environmental-friendly modes, by taking part in ridesharing with their private cars. The most emphasised travel attributes amongst the participants were travel time and flexibility, and economies the least. Therefore, this may indicate that ridesharing has unexploited traffic reduction potential, that could be better harnessed by integrating ridesharing with public transit.