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Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-12-053
Date: November 2012

 

Casual Carpooling Scan Report

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FOREWORD

The Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA’s) Exploratory Advanced Research (EAR) Program addresses the need to conduct longer term and higher risk breakthrough research with the potential for transformational improvements to plan, build, renew, and operate safe, congestion free, and environmentally sound transportation systems. The program addresses underlying gaps faced by applied highway research programs, anticipates emerging issues with national implications, and reflects broad transportation industry goals and objectives.

During November and December 2010, the EAR Program supported a team that consisted of transportation professionals, academic faculty, and business entrepreneurs who visited informal carpool lines (also called slug lines or casual carpool lines) in Washington, DC; Houston, TX; and San Francisco, CA, to observe “slugs” and to compare practices among locations. The team also met with private ride–match providers, regional planners, carpool participants, and transportation planners and engineers, with the overall goal of studying these ridesharing systems to evaluate whether to fund research on the potential for and value of expansion or replication.

Robert E. Arnold
Director, Office of Transportation Management

Debra S. Elston
Director, Office of Corporate Research,
Technology, and Innovation Management

Notice

This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for the use of the information contained in this document.

The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers’ names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the objective of the document.

Quality Assurance Statement

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides high-quality information to serve Government, industry, and the public in a manner that promotes public understanding. Standards and policies are used to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of its information. FHWA periodically reviews quality issues and adjusts its programs and processes to ensure continuous quality improvement.

 

Technical Report Documentation Page

1. Report No.

FHWA-HRT-12-053

2. Government Accession No. 3 Recipient's Catalog No.
4. Title and Subtitle

Casual Carpooling Scan Report

5. Report Date

November 2012

6. Performing Organization Code
7. Author(s)

M. Burris, E. Christopher, P. DeCorla-Souza, A. Greenberg, S. Heinrich, J. Morris, M. Oliphant, E. Schreffler, P. Valk, P. Winters

8. Performing Organization Report No.

 

9. Performing Organization Name and Address

Office of Transportation Management
Congestion Management and Pricing Team
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Ave., SE
Washington, DC 20590

10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)

11. Contract or Grant No.
12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

 

13. Type of Report and Period Covered

Scan Report, November 17–December 8, 2010

14. Sponsoring Agency Code

HRTM-30

15. Supplementary Notes

FHWA’s Contracting Officer’s Task Manager (COTM): Zachary Ellis, HRTM-30

16. Abstract

During November and December 2010, the Exploratory Advanced Research (EAR) Program supported a team that consisted of transportation professionals, academic faculty, and business entrepreneurs who visited informal carpool lines (also called slug lines or casual carpool lines) in Washington, DC; Houston, TX; and San Francisco, CA, to observe “slugs” and to compare practices among locations. The team also met with private ride–match providers, regional planners, carpool participants, and transportation planners and engineers with the overall goal of studying these ridesharing systems. The foundational knowledge gained on this scan will serve as a jumping-off point for future projects, collaborations, and system expansion. Appendix B to this report is published as FHWA-HRT-13-023, Appendix B to the Casual Carpooling Report.

17. Key Words

Alternative Commuting, Carpooling, Casual Carpooling, Dynamic Ridesharing, Electronic Slugging, Flexible Carpooling, Informal Carpools, Ride Matching, Ridesharing, Ridesharing Systems, Slugging, Slugs.

18. Distribution Statement

No restrictions. This document is available to the public through the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA 22161.

19. Security Classification
(of this report)

Unclassified

20. Security Classification
(of this page)

Unclassified

21. No. of Pages

35

22. Price

N/A

Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72) Reproduction of completed page authorized

SI* (Modern Metric) Conversion Factors

Table of Contents

Introduction

Summary of Activities

Washington, DC, November 17–19, 2010

Houston, TX, December 5–6, 2010

San Francisco, CA, December 7–8, 2010

Observations and Lessons Learned from All Cities

Recommendations

Dynamic Ridesharing: Experts and Researchers

Appendix A: Working Schedule of Each Scan Visit

About the Exploratory Advanced Research Program

List of Tables

Table 1. Scan team participants.

Table 2. Summary of scan member participation.

Table 3. Working Schedule for Washington, DC, Scan.

Table 4. Working Schedule for Houston, TX, and San Francisco, CA, Scans.

List of Figures

Figure 1. Slugs queuing to the left and vehicles approaching the line from the right at Horner Road Park-and-Ride lot.

Figure 2. A slug enters a vehicle at Horner Road Park-and-Ride lot in Prince William County, VA.

Figure 3. A driver holds up a sign indicating his or her destination.

Figure 4. Amber Carran-Fletcher of DDOT, Masoud Hamedi of the University of Maryland, Patrick DeCorla-Souza of FHWA, and Peter Valk of Transportation Management Services Consulting (left to right).

Figure 5. Slugs lined up at Potomac Mills parking lot with vehicles approaching from the right side.

Figure 6. A vehicle waits for slugs at the Kingsland Park-and-Ride lot in suburban Houston, TX.

Figure 7. A vehicle picks up slugs at the Addicks Park-and-Ride lot in suburban Houston, TX. Scan member Peter Valk holds up his index finger to inquire whether the driver will take one more passenger.

Figure 8. A Houston METRO bus picks up passengers for the afternoon commute along Louisiana Street downtown.

Figure 9. View of limited-access westbound HOV lane on the Northwest Freeway outside of Houston, TX.

Figure 10. Vehicles queuing along Sacramento Street, waiting for casual carpoolers adjacent to the North Berkeley BART station in Berkeley, CA.

Figure 11. A casual carpooler confirms the driver's destination before entering a vehicle outside of the North Berkeley BART station in Berkeley, CA.

Figure 12. Sign prohibiting parking along Beale Street, designating the area as a "passenger zone" for carpool formation during the afternoon commute hours.

Figure 13. Casual carpoolers queuing for afternoon rides along Beale Street in downtown San Francisco, CA.

Figure 14. View of tolling signage on the westbound lanes of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Note that HOVs and buses are directed to reserved lanes at the far right and left sides.

 

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