“Journey Sharing”: Fuel Efficiency Made Social

Easily the most prevalent image of carbon emissions is that of a car sitting in traffic, spewing exhaust onto the crowded roadway. As 10% of carbon emissions come from the roadways, this image, though not necessarily representative, is all too real. Even more troubling is that each of the immobile cars in that mental picture probably only houses one or two passengers, with just as many empty seats going unused.

While we can go about reducing transportation emissions by switching to traditional modes of mass transport, it’s also valuable to realize that many people prefer cars and won’t soon change. In that case, one of our best bets is to fill those empty seats. Grallo, a company operating out of India, plans to do just that. The name “Grallo,” a portmanteau of “green” and “allocative efficiency,” encapsulates their entire philosophy: they plan to make sure that all resources–in this case fuel–are used to full capacity so that we can live in an eco-friendly world. They execute this philosophy via event-based ride sharing, or as they call it, “journey” sharing. Users first register events, such as a marathon or music festival, that many people will be traveling to. People planning to attend the event can sign up as drivers or as passengers and are matched with travelers with similar travel plans. Users can also use the site to organize sharing of taxis and buses. Grallo makes money from the businesses who register their events via their website. They also take a small commission from payments between users and their taxis or buses, though when all’s said and done Grallo’s users save money by consolidating rides. The result is a simple solution that means fewer cars, fewer empty seats, and, in the end, fewer carbon emissions.

As of July 2014, Grallo is in the midst of its second year of activity and has organized ride sharing for events throughout India. Their first year saw them work with fifteen events, including some of the biggest music festivals in India, and organize rides for over five thousand passengers in almost three hundred separate rides, including 63 carpools. Just those ride shares accounted for fifteen tons of carbon saved, and Grallo is picking up steam in its second year, with four events just in July of 2014. That means Grallo can bring more people together to share journeys and experiences, and curb carbon emissions along the way.

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