2014: Record Year for Traffic Jams. The Solution Is Closer Than You Might Think
It’s an all-time record: More than 475 000 traffic jams clogged German roads in the last year according to statistics by the German automobile club ADAC. This does not only affect drivers’ individual well-being and the environment, but also national economies. Experts are therefore seeking for alternative concepts to improve the flow of traffic, and they are currently setting high hopes on connected and driverless cars. But a quick and simple solution is already at hand: carpooling.
A typical German driver spends a total of 38 hours a year sitting idle in traffic. The commute to work alone accounts for most of the delays. The reason for that is simple: Two thirds of commuters travel to work by car – and they usually do so alone. In fact, the average number of passengers is only 1.1 per vehicle, according to a study published by the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure in 2009.
To make matters worse, the number of commuters is continuing to grow. Today, 60 percent of employees travel across municipal borders to their workplace – that is, 17 million people in Germany. Between 2004 and 2012 alone, the number of commuters rose by 11 percent. That said, it is no surprise that the country’s infrastructure is lagging behind.
2 Passengers per Car: Problem Solved
In the long run, traffic-jammed German cities like Stuttgart are planning to improve infrastructure by investing in additional bike paths and public transportation. But such comprehensive changes are cumbersome and might take decades before being finally put into practice.
Yet, everyone can do their share already to prevent traffic congestions from building up in the first place. The solution is simple and low-cost: carpooling. If vehicles only averaged 2 passengers per car instead of the current 1.1, traffic jams would be a thing of the past, according to experts.
In fact, the ridesharing app TwoGo was born from a similar idea. In 2010, Jens and David, the developers of TwoGo, wanted to bring together colleagues with similar routes to and from work. Instead of wasting time on congested roads their colleagues should have the opportunity to actively reduce their travel time – simply by teaming up.
Keeping the traffic moving cuts down on pollution, makes people happy and saves money
A relaxed and jam-free journey to work is not only good for the environment. It’s also beneficial to our health: for the shorter the commute to work is, the more relaxed and content drivers are on average. And it’s good for the economy and our wallets too.
In the 22 biggest German cities alone, congestions cost taxpayers an additional 7.5 billion Euros every year, due to extra fuel costs, the working hours lost in traffic and other indirect costs – those are costs which are caused by delayed truck transports, for instance, and are passed on to consumers via increased grocery prices. These overall costs amount to 509 Euro per annum and household.
Stay Flexible, Use TwoGo
So congestion-free roads have numerous advantages. Why do so many commuter still prefer traveling on their own then? Flexibility, researchers say. Most commuters want to be able to change their plans on short notice, in the event that they have to work late or an unexpected meeting comes up.
This is why TwoGo makes ridesharing as fast and flexible as possible. Users who prefer planning their rides spontaneously or use the service only occasionally, can arrange single rides as needed, for example a day in advance. Those who would rather plan ahead can also arrange weekly rides. In case there’s an unexpected change of plans, users are of course always free to look for an alternative ride or fall back on their own car for a day. Just notify your fellow passengers ahead of time by giving them a call or contact them directly via app.
By the way: In addition to the free app – which is available to everyone – companies can also license an optimized version for their employees. This is for example a simple way for them to reduce the carbon footprint of their car fleet and to actively involve their employees in corporate sustainability efforts.