Today’s Chronicle carried a story on how Google’s Waze is rolling out carpooling on a national scale. TRANSDEF has been writing about the significance of ridematching apps for years, before Waze got interested in this market. The announcement today marks what we believe will become known as the official start of the age of carpooling. What makes the announcement so unusual is its express interest in both the public and private benefits of the venture:
“We want to reduce traffic and take cars off the road,” said Josh Fried, Waze’s head of carpool.
Waze has another goal, too: prepare people to share rides in future self-driving cars, which are being developed by Google sister company Waymo.
“If everyone rides in their own self-driving car, that won’t move the needle on traffic,” Fried said. “We’re seeking behavioral changes to get people super-comfortable with the idea of waking up every day and taking a carpool to work.”
This kind of corporate support has the potential to completely revolutionize the tiny world of carpooling, and send ridematching into orbit as a major new resource in the fight against congestion and motor vehicle GHG emissions.
TRANSDEF extends to Waze its congratulations and best wishes for a successful launch.