This Latest Trend Could Save You Heaps of Money

It’s now a proven fact: sharing is definitely caring. Just ask Steven Strogatz, a professor of applied mathematics at Cornell University. Based on his recent study conducted in New York City in 2011, shared mobility is the key to solving a host of transportation problems.

According to the data, over 170 million taxi trips were taken in that year alone. Yet, if taxi riders were willing to share a cab, New York City could potentially reduce its current fleet of 13,500 taxis by 40 percent, while simultaneously unclogging traffic, saving fuel and fighting air pollution. So why hasn’t their been more of an effort to share cabs?

Well first off, in a city of 8 million people, space and privacy are highly valued. If you’ve ever been on the MTA in the dead of summer during rush hour, it’s easy to understand why. Sharing a cab is an intimate affair and few would be willing to sacrifice precious minutes of their lives to save a few bucks…or the environment for that matter.

However, according to Strogatz, there is a fine line to consider.

To a certain point, a rider could tolerate a shared ride if the maximum delay is no longer than 5 minutes. Thus, this begs the question: “Are people content to be late by three minutes, if it means it’s only going to cost them half as much?”

We’d like to think so.

And many city dwellers are starting to agree. Cab sharing could potentially become the newest trend in big cities, with the help of mobile applications.Fortune Magazine, for example, reports that several car companies have already launched such services. By simply inputting your origin and destination, it’s easy to find someone else with a similar route as yours. This is especially popular in overly congested areas like airports and hotels.

Fortune also predicts that attitudes about privacy will slowly change, as cities become increasingly more crowded. But that doesn’t mean you should neglect public transportation – despite rush hour in the summer. After all, the greenest solution would be to ban all cars and opt for mass transit, but for now, we’ll take it one step at a time.