Carpooling to work, or car sharing as it is called in British English, is something that’s been going on for decades, but what about letting car pooling / car sharing take care of your other transportation needs?

Thanks to the advent of the internet, car pooling is not longer something restricted to co-workers and neighbors need to transport themselves to and from work. Instead, people all over the world can reach out to each other and help with each others ride and transportation needs.

ridematchingLet’s say you are driving from New York to Los Angeles. Why not let few boxes ride with you in the car, in exchange for a fee? You get some money to help with gas, and no transportation company needs to send out a separate car just to get those boxes from the east coast to the west coast. You arrange the deal directly with the owner of the boxes, and instead of two polluting cars on the road from the Big Apple to the City of Angels, there will be only one. Smart, efficient and environmentally sound.

Find a ride online for your stuff

The ability to use the internet to facilitate car pooling between strangers has caused a recent boom in car pooling, including the type of car pooling where goods rather than people is transported.

A recent study from the University of California Berkeley show that there are now nearly 640 ridematching programs active in North America, online and offline. In their study “Ridesharing in North America: Past, Present, and Future”, authors Nelson Chan and Susan Shaheen highlights how online ridematching systems employ a wide range of new strategies to create ‘critical mass’, such as social networking, financial incentives and real-time ridematching services that employ smartphones and automated ridematching software.

There are a lot of valuable resources online available to anyone interested in this type of modern car pooling, e.g. the user-friendly Rideship site where people in need of a ride or transportation can connect with people looking to give a ride or transport something. Rideship also runs the blog Share Ride where one can find helpful advice and read about successful ride sharing stories. Rideship employs a system where the shipper and courier agree on a gross transaction price beforehand, and use Paypal to facilitate a safe and secure payment.

Rideship is just one example of the many reputable ride sharing sites available today. As people become more concerned about congestion, pollution and oil dependency, car pooling is on the rise one again, after having gone through a substantial decrease from the 1970’s to the early 2000’s. Using the car pooling system to haul not just yourself but also your possessions from point A to point B is clearly a booming trend.