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Carpool

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A screenshot of the Carpool zimride application in Facebook. source

Carpool from Zimride is a liftshare (rideshare) application embedded into Facebook which allows members to easily match up with others making the same journey. It overcomes one of the barriers to use of traditional liftshare services by allowing people to share with existing 'friends' listed on their page or by looking at the profile of the person they are considering sharing with.

Contents

Product

Carpool is an application that allows users of social websites to share rides with people who they know or who have interests in common. Originally designed for Facebook, it is now also available within MySpace[1]. Technically it uses php, mysql, smarty, Google Maps api, and the Facebook development platform.

History

Carpool was developed by Logan Green, a graduate from UC Santa Barbara with an interest in transportation issues who was making numerous trips between Santa Barbara and L.A. He was unhappy with available services to share rides explaining that "Each time there would be this nervousness ahead of time, wondering, 'Who am I going to get in the car with?"[2]

The precise time period is unknown but is estimated to be in the early 2000s. Details of the early stages of development are again not publicly available but Carpool was launched on Facebook in April 2007 (approx.) and covered the U.S.A. and Canada. UK coverage was added in June 2007 (approx.). Detail on the uptake/diffusion of the service is not publicly available but reliable sources of this data would be welcomed. An indication of usage level is that there were 368 daily active users of the Facebook application (date: 13.5.08).

Impact

Widespread use of car sharing would have a significant impact on both emissions and congestion whilst also saving money for participants. Car sharing has the potential to be more flexible than scheduled transport but concerns about sharing with strangers can be a significant disincentive.

Facebook currently has 70 million active users (users who have returned to the site in the last 30 days) and other social websites also have very large memberships. Car sharing through social websites may unlock a much higher level of car sharing in the future.

External Links

Carpool on Facebook - Only accessible to Facebook registered users.

Zimride

References

  1. CarPool Application. Share a Ride, Save the Planet Face Reviews
  2. Two Startups Harness Facebook's Power to Connect Riders to Rides ABC News
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