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Carpooling and Transport on Demand

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Title Carpooling and Transport on Demand
Author(s) Rui Barradas Pereira, GMV
Level Basic
Year of Publication 2011
Logo GMV.png

Carpooling and hitchhiking have a long tradition throughout the world. The traditional methods to arrange rides vary from informal pick-points, manned booking agencies to web based booking sites[1]. GNSS enabled mobile devices have allowed the creation of what is sometimes called dynamic carpooling. These carpooling applications allow on the fly matching of drivers and passengers in an effective way[2].

This concept can be used in a similar way for Transport on Demand schemes where travel requests can be matched to vehicles that can assure the ride with minimal deviation from the current course.

Application Architecture

Carpooling and Ride sharing applications depend normally on an architecture that includes two multimedia user mobile devices and a server that collects the rides available and the ride requests.

The users mobile device is usually a mobile phone or smartphone with internet access, localization capabilities and a multimedia user interface.

The process usually followed by these applications is[3]:

  • When starting a route the driver uses a mobile application running in the mobile device to select one of its preconfigured routes and its willingness to share the ride.
  • The application uses the positioning information to determine the position of the car in the route.
  • The rider uses the mobile application to search for routes that can be useful.
  • The rider selects the ride and this information is relayed to the driver by the server.
  • If both users agree to the ride, a pick-up point is defined. These systems normally have warnings sent to the driver when reaching the pick-up point and the estimated arrival time of the driver is presented to the rider.
  • On the pick-up point there can be an authentication of the rider.
  • The rider might be charged by ride either by an amount defined by the system depending on the distance or by agreement between the parties.
  • The system might incorporate a rating of drivers and rider that might have an impact on how the matching is done.

Since these applications can have payment involved it can be argued that these applications should be considered liability-critical applications. But since these applications are used by individuals and the payment is a small pre-arranged amount these can be considered non-critical applications.

This can change if this concept is used for professional or commercial purposes and the payment is calculated by the distance run by the rider according to the application running in his mobile device.

The precision required by these applications is low, being the current accuracy provided by civilian GPS enough.

Other uses for Dynamic Carpooling

The concept and the platform used for Dynamic Carpooling can be used for other purposes such as Transport on Demand, Fleet Management and Taxi Hailing.

Transport on Demand systems usually rely on booking facilities which can be reached by phone or using the internet [4]. The use of this system would allow an additional interface using the mobile application.

Fleet Management systems allow for companies to know in realtime where each vehicle of the fleet is[5]. This information can be used for numerous purposes and among them is the possibility to reroute vehicles to pick-up extra people or parcels on its route or even by making small deviations to its route. With such a system this arrangement of these extra pickups could be even more optimized.

This concept can be used with minor adaptations to the matching algorithm to hail taxis. The rider would use the mobile application to request the taxi ride. The nearest free taxi would receive the ride request and the driver can have the opportunity to accept or not the service. If the service is accepted the taxi's navigation system would lead the taxi driver to the rider.

In these cases the driver mobile applications would be integrated in the navigation and fleet management system of the vehicle.

Service Examples

Example of such service in operation are:

  • Cariva: German mobile phone based dynamic carsharing system CARRIVA Ride Share Club .