We, collectively, love to mark occasions by setting aside specific days, weeks, or months. Those occasions range from Hug a Vegetarian Day to Black History Month with wildly varying levels of import and gravitas. As a tool to draw people's attention to a topic, the practice holds some merit, despite things like National Doughnut Day being honored alongside Earth Day.
Still, it is very well worth noting that tomorrow, October 26, is International Ridesharing Day. Whether you are a regular carpooler or a newbie, it is always good to be reminded of the myriad benefits of having fewer cars on the road. On a personal level, it saves you money and time, while probably reducing your stress, as well. From the broader perspective, it reduces both traffic levels and carbon emissions.
In 1943, the U.S. Government made this appeal for car pools. Photo credit: National Archives and Records Administration. Public domain.
If you would like to participate in International Ridesharing Day — or simply start using your car less — Shareable has some helpful tips for how you can join this growing global movement.
One needn't look any further than the Gulf to see one major impact of our autocentric nation's addiction to oil. One of the most blatant symptoms: all those two-ton cars in rush hour traffic carrying nothing but a driver. There is, of course, usually an alternative. Since 1999, Steven Schoeffler has run the site eRideShare.com, which helps connect fellow commuters into car pools and rid the roads of single occupancy vehicles. Schoeffler gave us some tips on how to share a ride, from connecting with strangers to establishing proper ride-time etiquette. Schoeffler sees the creation of a successful carpool as having two major elements: connecting with others to commute with and coordinating the daily routine.
The people urging families to walk or bike to school normally frame it as a solution to rising rates of childhood obesity: Thirty years ago, reports the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 90 percent of children who lived within a mile of school walked there. Today, that number is 25 percent. In the same period, the number of overweight or obese children has roughly tripled—two trends that the CDC claims are intimately related. However, in the course of researching the article, I also discovered that driving private cars to school contributes significantly to global warming.
Ridesharing in India is taken to a whole other level. Photo credit: Jason Rodman. Used under Creative Commons license.
Tired of paying car insurance, sitting in traffic jams, and guzzling too much gas? Do you never want to dig your car out of another snowstorm? Perhaps your family already cut down from two cars to one, but taking the carfree step seems impossible. … Yes, it can be daunting, and you will certainly have to figure out new ways to do some things, but you'll feel a payoff quickly in your health, your place in your community, and your pocketbook. There's nothing better than the feeling of freedom that comes from knowing you'll never pay a parking ticket again.
For decades, owning a car has been a status symbol, and its possession and use a private thing. Traditional car rentals cater to those who need a car temporarily, but the real problem is that the average car sits idle for 23 hours per day. While services like Zipcar offer a solution in high density areas, they require a critical mass to be successful. With peer-to-peer carsharing, RelayRides offers an efficient way for people to get more use out of their vehicles, while providing a convenient solution for those who don’t want to or can’t own their own cars.