Matchride utilizes ICT and social networks to create unique carpooling solution
We’ve been underlining this idea many times before, the ICT industry has the power to contribute to the worldwide carbon reductions not only within the ICT sector itself, but also to help other sectors and industries such as production, transport, construction and logistics become more sustainable.
I am very happy to have found a great example in Denmark, where a small company had the idea of reducing the negative environmental impact of personal transportation by providing a carpooling solution!
Check out their story below
You can save up to € 1156 and 504 kg of CO2 per year by sharing a car to and from work. Sharing rides in cars has both economic and environmental benefits. Yet most carpooling solutions have yet to gain a significant penetration. Among other things, this is because payment must be agreed and settled between the parties themselves. And the very idea of having to share a car with complete strangers has also held people from carpooling.
A Danish company, Matchride, has addressed these challenges by utilizing social media and the newest IT technology from Microsoft. They have created a solution where drivers and passengers log on and choose who they want to ride with. The solution combines user’s social networks to match drivers and passengers who know each other already or have common friends.
"If users know each other or have a mutual friend, these matches will get a higher rating, and the driver can see which friend or interest she has in common with the passenger," explains Michel Baladi, owner of Matchride.
Based in Windows 7, Matchride offers users a solution that is efficient and easy to use. You do not have to enter the address of the trip start and destination every time you ask for a lift or passengers. This feature is made possible by the built-in location sensor in Windows 7, so Matchride can track where the computer is located and hence where the journey should begin. In Matchride, the usual destination addresses where the user travels to are saved, and marked as "home" "work," "fitness-center", etc. If you use Windows 7 on your PC, a gadget on your desktop will constantly keep track of situations when you ask for driver or passengers. This is shown in pedagogical traffic light colors:
"When a user asks for a ride, the trip will only be marked as red. Matchride’s system will then check whether there is someone offering to take a passenger on the required trip. When two users are matched, the driver is informed that a match has been found for the ride. "
Windows 7 also makes it possible to use Matchride via a mobile phone. Matchride works via SMS with any mobile device and an application has been developed specifically for the iPhone and smartphones with Windows Mobile.
Shortest route and automatic payment
Matchride uses Bing Maps to find the best route and calculate the price that the passenger must pay the driver - the price is € 0,17 per. km. Each user on Matchride has an account which they can top-up in the same manner as prepaid cards for mobile phones. When a trip is completed, Matchride automatically transfers the trip cost from the passenger to the driver. The driver can then either withdraw the money or use it to get lifts from other drivers in Matchride.
The Future: Simple international expansion
The company behind Matchride is planning to relocate the solution to Azure, Microsoft's hosting solution in the cloud. With Azure, Matchride will be based on a platform which can be expanded from day to day to an unlimited degree
"We get access to the entire platform, but only pay for what we use. If we suddenly have an opportunity to expand to the U.S. or Germany, then the platform already in place. Azure links the expenditure and revenue together. If we, for example, see that not many users are using Matchride over the summer, then the server costs decrease accordingly. It’s good business, "says Michel Baladi, owner of Matchride.