Local Action – Car Pooling, Going Solar Transport Newsletter
By guest author, Darren McClelland, reproduced with permission from Going Solar Transport Newsletter #25, 24 July 2007, www.goingsolar.com.au/transport.
The more effective use of motor vehicles is an important element of any integrated sustainable transport strategy. Most of the public dialogue about environmental transport solutions has focused on improving our public transport systems and the promotion of cycling and walking. It is, however, sensible and realistic to acknowledge that certain members of the public will not engage in these options as readily as others, for a variety of reasons. For example, it may not be practical for residents in the outer suburbs of Melbourne to commute by public transport to their workplace, where it would involve multiple modes and excessive travel times. One way of reducing the amount of single-occupant car trips for these commuters is to promote the use of car pooling – sharing a lift to work with other commuters who live and work near them. The key to successful car pooling is a widely promoted, on-line database on a highly-visited website. It is critical that the database has a strong concentration of people who live and work near each other to make the service attractive by providing a high probability of a practical match with like commuters. A number of concerned individuals and budding entrepreneurs are making laudable efforts in this sphere. Examples include www.icarpool.com.au, www.ozcarpool.com.au & www.carfriends.com.au. However in the long term they are unlikely to result in a large uptake of car pooling, as they do not focus on a single area of geographic locality, and accordingly will not achieve a critical mass of participants. Presumably these providers may also lack capital to promote their respective websites on a widespread and ongoing basis.
In future editions of the Transport Newsletter we will explore alternative ways of encouraging car pooling on a significant and sustained basis. In the meantime, take a look at the websites above if you are a reluctant car commuter and would like to reduce your car trips.
Thanks to Darren McClelland for this item.