Technology creates possibilities for organisations, and one of the well-known existing problems of commuting can be solved by integrating and promoting a ridesharing application within corporations.
A ridesharing service refers to any method of transportation in which commuters use a single vehicle, either a private or company vehicle, to reach a similar destination. So far, ridesharing is known through initiatives such as Uber, Lyft, Taxify, Gett, Juno, and smaller providers around the world. It has its advantages and limitations, as with any initiative in the sharing economy.
In this blog, a corporate ride-share service is described that was proposed as a student´s thesis project for the Aviapolis area, Vantaa, an area popular with companies and corporations.
History of Ride Sharing
The earliest reports of ridesharing arise in early 20th century America. The consent found between 1914 -1918, known as the Jitney craze (1), allowed individuals to think of an innovative and effective way to use their vehicles. With mass-produced cars flooding the market and the early stages of a recession coming into play, enterprising car owners in 1914 began offering rides in their vehicles for a “jitney” – five-cent streetcar fare. The idea grew from Los Angeles across America in less than 12 months, with an estimated 1,400 jitneys operating in San Francisco alone.
As economic growth increased, mobility became more important to support human activities and needs. One of the most prevalent needs is transportation to and from work. Long commutes cost employees and their companies considerable time, wasted resources, productivity, and additional expenses (emotional, physical, financial).
New, fast-growing business regions located away from city centers are especially affected by this. In Helsinki, one such example is the Aviapolis business district (2), which is currently transforming into a business hub. More than 37,000 people are employed by more than 1,000 companies in the area. The area, however, faces its challenges with complicated commuter traffic and a congested parking lot, and main roads are highly congested during business hours.
Corporate Ride Sharing
The goal of this Master’s thesis was to present an application for corporate ridesharing as a possible solution to this problem. In this thesis, we describe a solution to a common need: traveling between two locations. Some areas lack frequent public transportation, which means that the time interval between transport is very high or varies — resulting in long waiting hours, long traveling time, and higher costs. Corporate Ridesharing is one of the most valuable solutions when there are no other means of transportation to a specific location.
The new service was outlined based on extensive analysis of the customer needs of the employees at several companies in the Aviapolis area. It was followed by the development of the actual application based on the PiggyBaggy platform. PiggyBaggy is another excellent example of how innovations help the world run better (3). The thesis combined web technology into a ridesharing solution to help provide immediate economic, environmental, and social benefits to the companies and their employees in the Aviapolis region.
The application developed in the Master´s thesis was launched successfully(4), providing an easy platform to the employees of participating companies. There were also two pilots done in 2020-2021.
We have commenced a pilot where the objective is to create an incentive for drivers to offer rides in their car by giving in return access to parking places in prime locations in the city center . Additionally, we are testing in a particular area whether a combination of community services in addition to ride-sharing would increase participation.
In this case, it was a public hospital, and the parking place management was again taken care of by a local operator. The participant numbers were encouraging, and the employer (hospital) issuing the parking place incentive is keen on considering scaling up the trial in the Fall.
- Users in PSHP-group: 56
- Rides executed: 232
- Rides per month: 123
Because the trials were limited in duration, we did not reach the targets for shared-ride numbers as planned. However, I strongly believe that we planted the seed for Ridesharing and its benefits among many employees, which I believe will grow over time. The service is being improved by integrating AI-based trip and transport mode detection to automatically create routes for offering or requesting rides, as well as integrating with MaaS services (make transport capacity visible, e.g., in Matkahuolto Reitit ja Liput).
About the Author
Usman Khanzada earned his Master’s degree in Business Informatics from Metropolia UAS. Professionally working as a Client Integration Manager for In4mo Solera. His career trajectory is based on Client management, process improvement, and project management in the information technology and services industry.
He is passionate about finding ways to reduce CO2 in the corporate sector by taking the right steps and addressing the issues essential to the future health and well-being of employees, the community, and the planet.
- Ride Share Research. (2009, 24 January). Massachusetts Institute of technology, Rideshare History & Statistics. MIT “Real-Time” Rideshare Research. [Online] Available at: http://ridesharechoices.scripts.mit.edu/home/histstats/ [Accessed June 2021]
- City Vantaa (2022). Aviapolis Major Region. Available at: https://www.vantaa.fi/en/regions-and-districts/aviapolis-major-region [Accessed November 2022]
- Piggy Baggy. (2021). KCity Market. K-citymarket Lahti Paavola hypermarket. [Online] Available at: https://pages.piggybaggy.com/en/partners/ [Accessed June 2021].
- Usman, K. (2021). Corporate Ridesharing Application for Aviapolis Business Region. Metropolia University of Applied Sciences: Master´s Thesis [Online] Available at: https://www.theseus.fi/handle/10024/501460