TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Robotaxis. Flying cars. Pods. Hyperloops.
You name it; somebody has proposed it as a solution to urban mobility challenges.
But to tackle congestion and boost mobility, Charles Knuth wants us to take a fresh look at a century-old idea: carpooling.
Knuth is head of commuter insights for San Francisco's Scoop Technologies Inc. Employers hire Scoop to help match workers who need a lift with co-workers or neighbors who are going the same way. It's an app-based service, but unlike Uber or Lyft, drivers aren't paid by the companies — they're reimbursed by riders.
"We are trying to break down some of the barriers of why the average person doesn't carpool today and provide them with a way to do it, when they want to be able to do it," says Knuth.
Knuth says Scoop is a bridge to the "utopian future" of smart mobility. He sees the carpooling service as a way to get people comfortable with car-sharing. He says 80 percent of us commute in single-occupancy vehicles.
Here's one persuasive argument for leaving the car at home: Knuth says carpoolers are more satisfied with life than the rest of us and, relieved of the stress of driving, many plan to channel their energy into positive endeavors, such as exercise.
"Making that shift, even if it's only for one or two commute days per week, has significant outcomes in their daily lives and how they interact with the world around them."