Publication Detail

Development of User Needs and Functional Requirements for a Real-Time Ridesharing System


Research Report

Suggested Citation:
Kowshik, Raghu R., John Gard, J. Loo, Paul P. Jovanis, Ryuichi Kitamura (1993) Development of User Needs and Functional Requirements for a Real-Time Ridesharing System. Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, Research Report UCD-ITS-RR-93-21

Ridesharing has long been perceived as a commuting mode which requires significant planning and lacks the flexibility associated with other commuting alternatives such as solo-driving. An efficient rideshare matching system is essential to promote ridesharing as a more effective commuting alternative. Potential carpoolers are first required to provide information such as names, phone numbers, home and work locations, and work start times. The rideshare agency matches their information with other participants registered in the database and identifies potential carpool partners. A match list including a list of all potential carpool partners, along with their names and telephone numbers, is mailed to the participant. The individual can then contact people on the list and form a carpool.

A real-time rideshare matching system could offer many benefits. It could allow travelers to review rideshare options, identify best matching riders, reserve rides in advance, register details for an immediate travel request, and help in the formation of carpools at park-and-ride lots while taking real-time demand into account. "Real-time" matching is defined as a one-time match obtained for a trip either the same day or the evening before. More importantly, a real-time matching system will make ridesharing possible for commuters who do not have a regular commute schedule in terms of departure time and origin or destination locations. Further, the most important breakthrough that Advanced Traveler Information Systems (ATIS) will bring to ridesharing, is that ridesharing information will ultimately be available in the vehicle. Therefore, the availability of a real-time rideshare matching system could significantly increase the market potential of ridesharing since the system would provide more options, and thereby increase rideshare opportunities.