Carpooling in the Greater Toronto and Area: Smart Commute's Carpool Zone, A Web-based Ridematching Service
Carpooling in the Greater Toronto
and Hamilton Area:
Smart Commute’s Carpool Zone, a web-based ridematching service
By Catherine Habel, Metrolinx, Smart Commute
Introduction About Smart Commute Communications and Marketing Results
Encouraging carpooling is a strategy for mitigating Smart Commute works with various Activities undertaken to support and promote the Since Carpool Zone launched in 2005 :
stakeholders to relieve traffic congestion, Carpool Zone have included: ¨ more than 12,000 commuters have joined
traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions
improve air quality and health, and reduce ¨ development of a brand ¨ more than 1,200 carpools have formed
related to single occupant automobile commuting.
Carpooling is a viable alternative to driving alone emissions that cause climate change. ¨ promotional materials ¨ on average, 100 tonnes of GHG emissions are
in areas where walking, cycling and transit are ¨ radio PSAs and traffic tags reduced per month
less desirable and impractical. Measures to ¨ news releases
Smart Commute is made up of a network of local In the latest user satisfaction survey (2007) :
encourage carpooling can be implemented quickly ¨ attendance at trade fairs
transportation management associations (TMAs) ¨ 89% of respondents were satisfied overall
and at relatively little cost. Raising the rate of auto ¨ partnerships resulting in co-promotion of high
that implement employer-based transportation
occupancy increases highway capacity and occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes with the Ministry ¨ 93% were satisfied with ease of use
demand management (TDM) initiatives and one
improves the efficiency of the existing of Transportation ¨ 91% were satisfied with privacy protection
central office, which in January 2008 joined
transportation network. ¨ Carpool Week ¨ 87% would definitely or likely recommend
Metrolinx (the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area
Transportation Authority). Metrolinx supports the ¨ TMA incentives and promotions Carpool Zone to their friends and colleagues.
61 % of Lone Drivers Are Willing to Carpool at
Least One Day Per Week network of TMAs and coordinates regional Incentives Carpool Zone is increasingly successful at
Carpooling 21 39 7 14 16 3 services and functions such as the Carpool Zone. helping commuters form carpools:
¨ TMAs work with employers to help them
Telework 32 20 3 11 27 6
implement preferential carpool parking at ¨ 49% (2007) v. 46% (2006) found matches
Public transit 16 33 11 18 18 5 worksites. Preferential parking is often an ¨ 28% (2007) v. 16% (2006) formed a carpool
Bicycling 11 16 6 19 45 2
incentive for commuters to choose carpooling. ¨ 24% (2007) v. 14% (2006) started carpooling
Walking 10 10 2 14 62 2
with Carpool Zone matches.
0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
Definitely willing Probably willing
Neither willing nor unwilling Probably not willing
¨ The Carpool Zone has been successful in
Definitely not willing Don't know/ No answer
facilitating carpool formation and increasing
Bringing the Carpool Zone to the GTHA awareness about carpooling in the GTHA.
Saving money and improving the environment
1. RFP for an online ridematching service ¨ Future improvements could include new
are top reasons for interest in carpooling features as well as more incentives and
was issued in 2005 by Smart Commute
promotions to continue building a critical mass of
8% 2. Carpool Zone built on a Pathway
Credit: Halton Region registrants.
Intelligence Inc. ridematching platform
3. Launched region-wide in November 2005
Car not available
4. Public sign up for free and TMAs recruit
Want to use HOV (carpool) lanes
5. Ongoing activities include upgrades, 84% of carpoolers are satisfied with their
translation, new development & marketing commutes versus 77% of commuters who
Carpool Zone: How It Works
Five Easy Steps
Register and fill out your profile.
Enter an address for your home and destination.
Search for matching commuters with adjustable
2 ¨ Commuters use the trip creation tool to enter
their trip information.
¨ Carpool Zone uses Google maps to display
trips. The system is interactive and users can
click on maps to choose their location (home and
4. Send matching commuters a suggestion to
work), edit their route and lookup nearby carpool
carpool. Additional Features
5. Start carpooling! Premium service for employers
¨ Adjustable search options allow commuters to
choose their preferences and match according to ¨ private & semi-private matching
gender or language.
¨ organization-specific URL
¨ employer logo and group name
¨ customizable homepage text
¨ admin. functions incl. reporting, user
¨ Commuters review their match information to and carpool tracking and user help
determine whether they would like to send a ¨ pre-defined destinations
carpooling suggestion to other commuters. ¨ customizable waiver
¨ Intelligent Route Matching matches users with
other commuters who can be picked up along the Administrator functions:
way. ¨ user management
¨ text page editing
¨ on-demand reporting functions:
¨ After clicking to
register, users agree to ¨microsurvey summaries
a waiver outlining the ¨publicity summary
web site’s terms and ¨report files
¨ They then complete
the profile page.
3 ¨ The system automatically matches commuters
who live and work near each other and travel at
similar times with accurate pin-point geocoding.
¨ Matches are ranked and scored based on
¨usage summary (by day, week or
¨ Message engine: ability to send e-mail
Minimal information is messages to participants
required to sign up and suitability.
¨ Prize engine: ability to randomly select
other information is
requested for statistical participants for prizes and promotions
purposes only. It is ¨ Translation engine: ability to translate
clearly indicated which pages and phrases into multiple
fields are private and The Carpool Zone has been translated into languages.
which are public. French, Chinese, Italian, Spanish,
Portuguese and Punjabi. Acknowledgements: Ryan Lanyon, Jacquelyn Hayward-Gulati. Daryl Novak. Robin
Chauhan, Julie Sperling and Mark Iogna, for their contributions to developing and
maintaining the Carpool Zone.
Intelligent Route Matching