Developing a web-based car-pooling matchmaking tool
The scheme was developed in order to tackle the problem of congestion by reducing single-occupancy car use in Potenza.
Implementing sustainable mobility
Prior to measure implementation, car pooling (that is, two or more people who share the same journey origin and destination deciding to share a vehicle and split journey and parking costs) existed in some companies and organisations, but only in a spontaneous and disorganised way. However, since the number of single-occupancy journeys had decreased as a result, it was decided to create a dedicated centre with customised software able to manage databases and promote the car-pooling concept. The aims were to: increase the number of people travelling per vehicle; decrease the number of circulating and parked vehicles; and decrease emissions of pollutants.
A survey was carried out in 2006/2007 in order to obtain data about home to work trips in five companies in the city. Data analysis was then followed by system design and the procurement of appropriate software in 2008. The database contains information about potential users, including: trip origin and destination; journey date and time; constraints or preferences (e.g. only colleagues, or only people of a particular gender or age). The database is linked to opportunity matching software and identifies ideal potential car-pooling partners.
During the project period, the service was available via the Internet and targeted to 631 employees working in the region.
An awareness-raising campaign was carried out in 2008 among employees, and information brochures were disseminated. As an incentive for car poolers, dedicated parking lots were also created.
Overall delays in implementation compromised the evaluation process. From the project experience it was clear that one or two years are necessary to fully evaluate the effectiveness of car pooling, as establishing the system in the community and making it part of people’s normal mobility patterns can be a long process. Only a low number of people registered on the car-pooling website, largely due to the wide availability of free parking and the fact that many people rely on private cars to take children to school.