The History of Carpooling

September 14, 2018

Carpooling is a great phenomenon that help people save the environment and their wallet. But when and why did people start carpooling, and how has the trend developed during the last decades?

What is the carpooling phenomenon and how was it invented and first encouraged?

Carpooling initiatives during war

Carpooling was introduced as a government incentive during World War II through “car-sharing clubs” when no other transportation method was available. Furthermore, the authorities wanted to conserve rubber for the war. These car-sharing clubs were introduced via work, churches, PTAs etc., as a means to encourage ridesharing. The local communities provided bulletin boards where you could request drivers and riders for your car-sharing club.

Power of persuasion. A poster used during WWII to encourage ride sharing.

Oil and energy crisis = increased demand for carpooling

During the late 1960s to the 1980s, carpooling was again especially encouraged. This because of the oil crisis due to the oil embargo of 1973-1974 and the energy crisis in 1979. In order to preserve the oil available, and because it instantly was very expensive to use petrol, ridesharing was a way to save money and preserve the oil. This is where more organised employer vanpools were first introduced, as well as HOV lanes and park-and-ride facilities.

Carpooling incentives to save the environment

In the late 1900s when gas prices dropped again, transportation via carpooling dropped in popularity, as people could afford to drive again. However, this was also the period when an interest and commitment to the environment was established. The focus was then moved to preserving the planet, as people recognised that burnt fossil fuel was bad for the air pollution, resulting in global warming. Additionally, traffic congestion was starting to become a growing problem in major cities around this time. Now, carpooling programmes worked through internet and telephone, foreshadowing today’s technology for ridesharing services.

Carpooling today

Today, carpooling is increasing in popularity again. Not only because there is a greater need for it in cities where congestion and air pollution are big problems, but because today’s society’s focus on environment and sustainability is great. Furthermore, people recognise that carpooling is a way to individually save time and money – less time spent in traffic and less money spent on petrol and service of vehicle. Carpooling today is easily accessible via advanced technology, through Passenger. Passenger is an on-demand ridesharing service, connecting drivers and riders heading in the same direction by just one easy tap on your phone.

Join the trend, sign up for the Passenger beta today!

Ridesharing in North America: Past, Present and the Future

Discover more stories