Future of hitchhiking
On-demand car-pooling is expected to arise as a result of the location reporting capabilities that are to be incorporated in all new mobile phones by the end of 2005 according to the requirements for E911 services in the United States. Once users can expose their location to 3rd parties that coordinate ride-sharing, the main restrictions on car-pooling – same time, same place pick-ups and drop-offs – may be removed. This will facilitate sharing of vehicles not only on commutes but also for trips of all kinds.
Drivers will be especially encouraged to participate in these programs by:
- cost sharing with electronic credits that are processed automatically by the ridesharing systems,
- the continued existence or expansion of High Occupancy Vehicle lanes,
- desire to socialize.
Abuses will be strongly discouraged by participant feedback and the identification and location reporting that is intrinsic to the system. Proof of insurance may be required by ridesharing agreements or provided as a rider benefit.
As with other form of social networking, riders and drivers will be matched according to personal criteria. While users may restrict matching criteria in order to exclude non-neighbors or according to other chosen factors, they may also broaden their matches in order to meet a more representative sample of the population. The resulting interactions could significantly increase the degree of social connectedness.
If the participant pools are not overly fragmented by an uncoordinated commercialization – a significant risk that ought to be eliminated by creation of open standards for matching subscribers to different services – riders in good standing should be able to travel wherever mobile phone service is available with much quicker pick-ups, faster connections and almost no stops as compared with mass transit, and at substantially lower cost than operating their own vehicles. Drivers who participate regularly and exhibit good driving skills should be able to offset a substantial fraction of their expenses. The result should be a marked and permanent increase in average vehicle occupancy.
Avego is an application that runs on iPhones and other mobile devices, and matches drivers and passengers who are going the same way. "Avego Stops", the best places to pick up and drop off riders. It also wants to connect it with a social networking website. Launched in September 2008 Avego
Carticipate on the iPhone is the first ride sharing application on a location aware mobile platform and is available as a free download on Apple's App Store on iTunes. http://www.carticipate.com/
See also Hospitality exchange networks.