, Volume 37, Issue 6, pp 849–873 | Cite as

Catching a ride on the information super-highway: toward an understanding of internet-based carpool formation and use

  • Ron N. BuliungEmail author
  • Kalina Soltys
  • Randy Bui
  • Catherine Habel
  • Ryan Lanyon


Fluctuating fuel prices, rising congestion, longer commutes, and related environmental and human health effects have combined to once more draw the interest of governments, commuters, and firms toward the concept of travel demand management (TDM). While TDM is not new, the proliferation of mobile telephony, fixed Internet, and associated applications has created fresh prospects for the implementation of commuter focused TDM strategies. One recent example is Carpool Zone, an on-line carpool-matching tool deployed and managed by the TDM group at Metrolinx, the regional transportation planning agency within Canada’s largest metropolitan region, the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. Using data provided by Metrolinx, this paper broadens current thinking on carpool formation and use. The main hypothesis guiding this work is that the carpool formation and use process is sensitive to personal and household characteristics, space, time, travel cost, and workplace TDM policies. Results from a logistic regression analysis suggest that geographical proximity to other users; workplace TDM policies; the scheduling of work; and commuter role preference increase the odds of successfully carpooling. Importantly, findings regarding the positive influence of workplace TDM policies suggest that Internet based TDM tools will likely require critically important investment in human capital at the back-end to ensure program participation.


Carpools Commuting Travel behaviour Transportation planning Internet Metrolinx 



The first author acknowledges financial support from Metrolinx; Smart Commute Mississauga; the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC); and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). We would also like to acknowledge the four anonymous reviewers for their contributions to improving the quality of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ron N. Buliung
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kalina Soltys
    • 1
  • Randy Bui
    • 1
  • Catherine Habel
    • 2
  • Ryan Lanyon
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of Toronto MississaugaMississaugaCanada
  2. 2.MetrolinxTorontoCanada

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