On-demand ride-sharing has been enabled by new technology deployed at a large scale. Passengers are matched with strangers with similar origins, destinations, and time windows, and share their rides in captive, intimate spaces for a moderate period of time.
In theory, this new transportation option could contribute to a reduction of the number of vehicles on the road while increasing accessibility. In addition, this emerging mode could enable a new paradigm for social interaction through a combination of spontaneous and intense interactions. The unique shared-trip setting could be used as a venue for productive dialogue between passengers.
At JTL, our research in this cluster focuses on three levels of the social interactions present in shared mobility. At the individual level, our research focuses on how people perceive this unique transportation setting, and investigates how these attitudes affect individual use of this mode. At the interaction level, we consider the social dynamics at play in shared rides, considering how individuals contribute to the experiences of their fellow passengers. At the system level, our research focuses on how social aspects can be incorporated into the broader design of mobility sharing systems, through the inclusion preference-based matching, pricing, information dissemination, and social mixing. By combining research on these three levels, we aim to realize the societal benefits of interactions as a complement to the potential environmental and economic benefits of reduced congestion.