Today’s Solutions: December 03, 2021

Back in the late 1970s, 20 percent of American commuters carpooled. At the moment, that number stands closer to 7 percent. This is problematic considering that carpooling is a good way for us to cut down on the individual emissions that come with traveling.

Uber and Lyft have both tried to bring back carpooling with their point-to-point chauffeured trip options, which allow strangers to ride together for a reduced price. Thus far, however, this option hasn’t quite cracked the carpool puzzle. Waze, the crowd-powered navigation app from Google believes it has the solution.

The thing is, carpooling relies heavily on the routines of people: if you work at the exact same time as someone else, you are more likely to carpool to work. Waze Carpool attempts to get past this by giving riders more flexibility for an era in which schedules (and parenting responsibilities) can be unpredictable. To simplify assembling your pool, Waze users set their work and home locations and the app connects drivers and riders who have at least the majority of their route in common. You can see people’s full names, work locations, and schedules to make plans over a week ahead of time. Riders can flag days where a ride is needed and send requests to multiple drivers in a queue to increase their chances and accommodate oddball schedules.

While Waze Carpool is online nationwide, it’s focusing heavily on Washington DC where the partial shutdown of the Metro mass-transit system is making travel in the nation’s capital even harder. Should you live in this area, Waze Carpool might just be the solution for you.

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