Carpooling apps have been done before. There are hundreds of them. I wanted to make one that stood out. An app that motivates a driver to open the doors of their car to others time and time again. An incentive plan that goes beyond leveling up points or handing out gold stars. And because I didn't want it to turn into just another Uber service, I created an app where users are able to interact with other users who are already going the same direction anyway.

How it Works

The steps are simple.

  1. Decide if you are a Driver or a Passenger.
  2. Save your start and end locations.
  3. Find rides in your area which happen to be going in the same general direction. Part of the incentive here is that the driver doesn't have to go too far out of his/her current commute.
  4. Hop in the car and go!
  5. When the ride is done, you'll be prompted to buy the driver a coffee...or lunch if you are feeling generous.
  6. Repeat the next day to help traffic stay manageable.

Or ignore all those steps and split the cost of the trip. Using OpenXC, we can calculate the cost of the trip down to the penny!

What happens when this app gets used?

Traffic avoidance is nice. But it doesn't solve the issue of too many cars on the road. What you really need is an efficient ride sharing program such as carpooling. Imagine this, 10,000 active users download the app. Half of those users would most likely be Drivers, the other half passengers. Overnight, you have effectively removed 5000 cars from the road.

Let's do some number crunching to see the true benefit.

  1. Average length of a city block 300ft
  2. Average length of a car 15ft
  3. 5000 cars removed based on 10,000 downloads

The averages vary from place to place, but with these numbers, we can identify how many city blocks we just cleared of cars.

((5000 cars * 15ft) / 300) / 2 lanes = 125 city blocks cleared!

Why OpenXC?

Integration with OpenXC in this app was essential. One of the hardest things to do when offering a carpooling service is to split the cost of the trip. You can never be sure exactly how much a trip costs. There are too many variables. I received a message in response to a post I made about this app. See the link below.

User comment link

Users want this feature. The frustration with this fact is evident. Ride Along happily provides it with the exactness that only OpenXC can provide.

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