Workers Share the Commute as Carpooling Catches on; SMARTPHONES AND SOCIAL NETWORKS CHANGING TRAVEL
Byline: SALLY WILLIAMS
WALES is playing a key role in embracing car sharing schemes to benefit the environment, motoring organisations revealed last night.
Europe's largest car sharing network, Carpooling.com, said car sharing schemes transported one million people every month last year.
That's the equivalent of 85 times the population of Aberystwyth being taken to Cardiff and back.
Abi Moore of Carpooling.com said: "We are looking ahead to the future of transport and it is clear Wales will play a role in the uptake of green transport through the form of carpooling. The adoption of carpooling varies by region throughout the UK but www.carpooling.co.uk noted that Cardiff is one of the cities with a large increase in the number of lifts being offered.
"And we have connected people in 5,000 cities and 45 countries so they can share their rides."
She said increased connectivity, smartphone technology and the proliferation of social networks, marked the beginning of new era of mobility.
"Today, people are more willing to share, more mobile and more prepared to adapt their travel habits to ecological concerns - a trend that will continue to grow in 2012," she said.
She explained that Cardiff to Newport is a popular car sharing route that does not usually incur any cost.
Meanwhile Cardiff to Bristol and Bath cost around pounds 5 and further afield to Southampton typically costs pounds 8. Markus Barnikel, chief executive officer of the Carpooling Network said: "Carpooling networks are not a replacement for public transportation systems but rather the perfect complement.
"Unlocking the idling capacity of cars is a simple solution with enormous economical, ecological and social benefits.
"Since the creation of carpooling.
com, 375 million litres of gas were saved and 725,000 tons of carbon dioxide were prevented from entering the atmosphere."
"Similar to the inventions of the automobile, train and airplane, the smartphone is radically disrupting traditional concepts of mobility.
"In 2011, we noticed that people are increasingly using their mobile devices to book and purchase their seats online.
"Our iPhone and Android apps have been downloaded more than 320,000 times. People are clearly more mobile today than ever before and are increasingly demanding last-minute travel options that are convenient, affordable and sustainable."
He said a recent study of 18 to 24-year-olds, showed that three quarters of them said they would rather live without their car than their smartphone.
"With more than one billion cars in the world, traffic congestion is becoming an increasingly problematic issue - causing significant fuel wastage, increased pollution and costing billions to the world economy," he said. …