, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 239–253 | Cite as

The ambivalence of ridesharing

  • Catherine MorencyEmail author
Original Paper


Ridesharing is quite a popular topic of discussion among transport authority personnel. It is perceived to be a viable alternative to classical modes of transportation, and receives a great deal of political support from transport planners. However, not much objective information is available on ridesharing behaviors. We use travel survey data to study the evolution of the ridesharing market in an urban area. Our study is based on data from four large-scale OD surveys conducted in the Greater Montreal Area (1987, 1993, 1998 and 2003).

In the latest survey conducted in Montreal, car passengers were asked to identify the driver who gave them the opportunity to travel in this way. Their answers were classified according to the type of driver; for instance, a member of their household, a neighbor or a co-worker. We use this information to calibrate a model matching car passengers and car drivers belonging to the same household. This will be referred to as IHHR (intra-household ridesharing).

Preliminary results reveal that approximately 70% of all trips made by car passengers are the result of IHHR. Furthermore, around 15% of those trips are questionable, in that they were exclusively generated for another individual’s purposes, consequently generating an additional trip for the journey back home. Moreover, this percentage increased over time. Objective data regarding ridesharing and its evolution in an urban area will undoubtedly help decision makers gain a clearer profile of this means of travel and help to realign attitudes on the issue.


Carsharing Greater Montreal Area (GMA) Origin–destination surveys Ridesharing Sustainable transportation 



The author wishes to acknowledge the institutions that continuously collect valuable data on travel behaviors through OD surveys. These large-scale processes contribute to the advancement of transportation models and methods: STM, RTL, STL, AMT and MTQ.

The author especially acknowledges the AMT (Metropolitan Transportation Agency), which supports the study of critical analytical issues related to urban transportation, notably the multimodal trips and ridesharing behaviors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Civil, Geological and Mining Engineering DepartmentÉcole Polytechnique de MontréalMontrealCanada

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