Ride-sharing firms Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. are experimenting with carpooling services that are changing how people get to work. Both companies, best known for providing a fleet of private drivers that can be matched to individual passengers through their smartphones, have introduced technology that groups strangers as passengers—thus saving commuters money—by using algorithms that match distances and times of trips with other people going to similar places or in similar directions.
In Late March, Lyft launched Lyft Carpool, a pilot program in the San Francisco Bay Area, to address a heavily congested section of Highway 101 between San Francisco and Silicon Valley. That program matches commuters with other commuters rather than private drivers. The company also is working with the regional Metropolitan Transportation Commission to expand carpool lanes along that route...
Researchers are looking at how mobile apps, social media and predictions about traffic flow can all combine to deliver a better commute. Of course, the NYT has information on how Uber is looking to relieve congestion.
Call up the app, specify your destination, and in exchange for a significant discount, UberPool matches you with other riders going the same way. The service might create a ride just for you, but just as often, it puts you in a ride that began long ago — one that has spanned several drop-offs and pickups, a kind of instant bus line created from collective urban demand.