3_Car Pooling



Presentation of the measure

Car-pooling is where two or more people share the same journey, using one of the participants’ own private cars (in the UK this is called Car Sharing).

Car-pooling is one of the most common and cost effective alternative modes, particularly in areas that are not well served by public transport. It is also an important mobility option for non-drivers, particularly in small towns and rural areas, where notices are often posted on bulletin boards and travel needs are shared through informal networks. Car pool programs can be implemented by an individual employer as part of a Mobility Plan (Travel Plan), as well as by a public authority or a transport operator for a whole city or region.


Mileage reductions, savings in fuel and in vehicle operating costs can be relatively high. Furthermore car pooling leads to traffic reduction and thus mitigates negative environmental impacts of car traffic.

Drivers for success

A variety of improvements and incentives can increase car-pooling:

  • Provide a guaranteed ride home service so that people who car pool can get home if something unplanned occurs e.g. a case of emergency at home.
  • Define preferential parking spaces for car poolers (e.g. the ones close to entrances) or set up of other bonuses. Some employers offer commuter financial incentives such as a cash payment to employees who carpool.
  • High Occupancy Vehicle lanes (HOV lane): is a lane reserved for vehicles with a driver and normally two or more passengers. These lanes are also known as carpool lanes, commuter lanes, express lanes, and transit lanes.
  • Car-pooling should be implemented as part of a comprehensive Mobility Plan (Travel Plan).

Possible barriers

Car-pooling programs require sufficient funding to provide efficient matching services. Effectiveness depends on appropriate incentives: HOV facilities, financial subsidies, parking management, and marketing. Marketing efforts may be needed to inform potential car-poolers about this option.

Costs of the measure

Car-pool program costs consist primarily of administration, setup, organisation and marketing expenses. In the UK typical’ set up costs are reported as follows:

Source: Cairns, S. Sloman, L. Newson, C. Anable, J. Kirkbride, A. Goodwin, P. (2004). “Smarter Choices - Changing the Way We Travel» Final report of the research project: ’The influence of soft factor interventions on travel demand’, Department for Transport, London.

  • Schools start from £20 (around €23) per year
  • Small businesses: £400 (around €456) set up and £200 (around €228) running costs per year
  • Medium sized businesses: £600 (€684) set up and £300 (around €342) running costs per year
  • Large businesses: £1,000 (around €1,138) set up and £500 (around €569) running costs per year
  • Branded schemes start from £3,000 (around €3414) set up and £1000 (around €1,138) running costs per year

“Effective marketing is usually the key to the success of a scheme and we advise companies to budget on £5 per employee for marketing and incentives” Clabburn (2004)

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