Tuesday, December 22, 2015

How everyday citizens can reduce pollution

By Prathima Manohar of The Urban Vision for ShareACar

 Climate change is among the greatest global challenges today, with implications on food production, water supply, health, energy, etc. We have to reduce our carbon emission dramatically in the next few decades to combat this crisis. Already, cities occupy barely 2 per cent[1] of the world's surface area and are responsible for 75 per cent of global energy consumption and 80 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions Half of this carbon emissions in our cities are related to transport. While other sectors have managed to reduce their energy use and related emissions; the transport sector emissions have been consistently increasing.  It is clearly a far more challenging issue to address.

The recent reports of toxic levels of pollution in Indian cities are an indicator of how bad things have gotten on ground. All of us have to work together and tiny steps to limit this crisis. One of the simplest actions you can take to address this environmental crisis is by starting to car pool.

Here are couple of statistics that enunciate how much difference this can make:

a)      The Average emissions level of a new car sold in 2014 was 123.4 g CO2/km.

b)      According to The “Empty seats traveling” study, by the Nokia Research Center ;  There are 500+ million private car sand we lose   500 billion dollars ( & contribute to related emissions)  due to empty seats  the world’s roads every year.

We can only imagine how must money we can save and pollution we could offset if we shared our resources wisely. Carpooling is profitable on an personal level and for your society as a whole. It can reduce air pollution while saving money in the process.

I am excited to see entrepreneurs addressing this issue through innovative and efficient ride sharing apps. These are the types of ideas that make for a “smart city” . Simple ideas such as ridesharing enable urban living that is productive, environmentally friendly and healthier.

Get on Board & start to Carpool!

ShareACar – A practical and efficient solution to your car pooling needs!

By Arushi Pandey on http://techstory.in/shareacar/

The roads today are full of cars honking all the time, and the rush during peak hours is just too much to handle. People get stuck in traffic every other day and it takes valuable time off our hands. Not just this but this huge number of cars on our roads contributes a proportional amount to the air pollution as well. Carpooling is one simple way to deal with the situation, which is what ShareACar brings to us. An efficient, simple and practical solution for carpooling. Being in Mumbai ShareACar founders had seen it all and tried it all, and the only viable solution to these problems seemed to be a reliable carpooling service, which is what they started working on.
The Idea
ShareACar is realtime ridesharing app which connects verified users for the evident purpose of sharing a cab or hitching a ride together. They provide the facility of using online wallets to make the process easier and smoother. Carpooling is still a pretty new concept in India and hasn’t been explored much. ShareACar is here bringing practicality to the concept. ShareACar is trying to capture a large pool of daily commuters just by making carpooling more practical and efficient.


Meet the Makers
The two co-founders of ShareACar are both Alumnus of IIT Kanpur:
Rohit Karan –He has a bachelor’s degree from IIT Kanpur (2007) and then he went on to do an MBA from IIM Ahemedabad (2009). He worked for six years as an investment manager before the idea was born.
Shobhit Srivastava – He is also a graduate from IIT Kanpur (2007). He has an experience of eight years in technology, business analytic and finance domain.
The two main features that sets them apart from the rest are the amount of flexibility they offer and also the safety features they have to ensure our safety and peace of mind.
Some of the flexible options offered by ShareACab are as follows :
  1. They give the user the room to select their own co-travellers. They don’t have random matching up of people, so you won’t be stuck in a car with a stranger.
  2. As a ride giver you have the flexibility to set you own fares on the app.
  3. They also give you the option of seeking alternate routes.
The safety features in place are :
  1. There is a 3 step verification process for creating a login.
  2. All rides are tracked in real time at backend.
  3. Feedback system of rating and review to enhance the credibility of users
The competition
With the big names like Ola and Uber joining this sector, the competition for ShareACab is tough. Ola is coming up with OlaShare and Uber with Uberpool. Apart from these big players we also have others like Zify and sRide offering similar services.
In the intercity space, BlaBlaCar has established a dominant position, while Tripda is also coming up with some new campaigns. The segment is going to see a lot competition down the road. They are up against some Unicorns (BlaBlaCar, Ola, Uber) and in a segment where people haven’t had success, it’s seems to be a tough fight us but that’s what keeps them going.
Overcoming the Hurdles
We faced multiple challenges while designing the product and also are looking for ways to increase the user base. The product offering will be most felt if the number of users increases dramatically which will increase the probability of finding a ride. Also, most of our users are not on the platform because we are giving them freebies. Our core offering will save them more money than what we can give them. We are using multiple small hacks to educate the customers, like creating videos, designer fliers, meeting people and explaining the product to people, etc.
They are looking for funding. They have a funding of the seed level of an undisclosed amount . In the coming month they want to get more people on board, which would need a higher budget or more creative ideas. At the moment they are going with the later, but very soon they would need to get funded.
 Journey till now and the Road ahead
They have seen around 60 shared rides being taken over the last 1 month of their operation. There are around 450 users on the platform and this number is growing very rapidly. While the app can be used in any part of the country, they are currently focusing on resolving Mumbai’s traffic problem before heading to other cities.
Over the next few months, our target will be to hit a number of 100 shared rides per day and then expand to other cities.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Founded By IITians, ShareACar Is Adding Practicality To Carpooling As We Know It

Source: http://www.indianweb2.com/2015/10/27/shareacar

Nowadays, roads are more a sight of stagnant cars stuck in long traffics than moving cars. In fact, various state governments have also started various initiatives to curb the increasing figure of cars on roads and put a lid on the pollution problem. Car Free Day is one such initiative started by the Haryana government in Gurgaon and more recently in Delhi. The concept borrowed from the west, encourages the citizens to ditch their vehicles once a week and share a ride to office or use the public transport.
In 2009, carpooling represented 43.5% of all trips in the United States and 10% of commute trips. In India however, carpooling is still a relatively new concept which hasn’t it picked up traction in the Indian Market yet. The Indian market is exactly at an infant stage in terms of the ride sharing or carpooling market.
Even though, India do have handful of homegrown ride-sharing or carpooling startups/apps such asZifysRideRidingo, among others, are providing its users decent platform which can be used for sharing rides.
Now, a relatively new carpooling app – ShareACar, claims to be adding practicality to carpooling as we know it.
ShareACar is a realtime ride-sharing app that helps connecting real verified users to share their rides together and helps them save fuel and environment in the process. The users can do the sharing in their own vehicles or book a cab for the same.
ShareAcar’s co-founders – Rohit Karan and Shobhit Srivastava, both alumnus of IIT Kanpur, came up with the idea for ShareACar after realising the traffic epidemic that the Indian cities are suffering from. They realised that even though everyone wanted the problem to be solved but yet no one did anything concrete about the same. They also realised that even though most of the people were in favour of the idea of carpooling but yet they didn’t consider it as a safe and practical option.
Mumbai-based ShareACar aims to solve this lifelong taboo associated with carpooling and ease commuting problems in Indian cities.
Shobhit Srivastava and Rohit Karan
Shobhit Srivastava and Rohit Karan
There are many other carpooling players currently existing in the market, but no one has been able to make carpooling as practical an option as they have. They distinguish themselves from others in the market by offering the users a solution where people are empowered with no fixed fares (upto a certain cap), no route matching algorithm and complete flexibility to decide who they want to travel with. Further, every cash transaction is done through an online wallet, hence providing the people with an option to travel cashless.
The app has an attractive and super easy to use map based UI on which users can put in their coordinates. Further, the app is completely real time in order to ensure no unnecessary pre planning.
The startup which is self funded till now, has seen some 250 odd users registering over the last few weeks since its launch. Further, around 45 rides have already been shared on the app over the last 3 weeks.
The Mumbai based app plans to increase its presence in other cities in the coming future and is tying up with various agencies for the same.

Tired of public transport hassles? Here's an app which can help you hitch a ride to your workplace at reasonable rates

Source: http://www.iamin.in/en/mumbai-north-west/news/tired-public-transport-hassles-heres-app-which-can-help-you-hitch-ride-your-workplace-reasonable-73657

L-R: Shobhit Srivastava and Rohit Karan started ShareACar app where citizens can carpool for daily commuting. Anagha Sawan/iamin

With the petrol prices and the number of unique start-ups, on the rise in tandem, ex-IITans Rohit Karan,31, and Shobhit Srivastava,32, have launched an application, which enables you to share a car and cut individual costs. The app itself is named ShareACar, which provides carpooling service to commuters.

Launched on September, 23, this year Shobhit Srivastava said, “The motive behind launching the app was to cut down the time and daily expenses of commuters and to reduce traffic issues in the city. The idea came about from our own experiences of facing daily traffic problems and thereby came up with the concept of ShareACar.”

How does it work?

The app has basically two users – riders (or the drivers) and passengers. Both the passengers as well as riders have to register themselves with the app first and share details like name, age, gender and verify the same through SMS or e-mail. The commuters will have to recharge their R-wallet (an online facility) with a minimum amount of Rs 100 before requesting for the carpool option.

A rider can charge the passenger a maximum of Rs 7 per kilometre for the trip, which will help him or her cover his car maintenance and other car expenses. Once the passenger gets down from the car, the total amount will be deducted from the commuter’s account and credited to the driver’s account.

What’s more? Both the riders and commuters will get the profiles of each other and they have the option of accepting or rejecting each other.

The challenges

To develop the app, both Rohit and Shobhit quit their jobs. Rohit said, “We wanted to focus on the app development because of which we both quit our jobs. We took lots of effort to develop the layout, conduct survey and interact with the daily commuters about the carpooling concept and what would the commuters like to see etc. We wanted to give the commuters different option to travel other than public transport.”

Within a month, the app has been used by around 200 passengers and 35 riders. The routes which are preferred for carpooling include Eastern Freeway, JVLR, Aarey Colony. The app is available only on the android platform as of now and can be downloaded from Google Play Store.

Goldman Sachs on Ridesharing as the future of 'Commuting'

Source: http://www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/technology-driving-innovation/cars-2025/



Connected cars, communicating with each other and with the larger world, will not only reduce accidents and ease traffic. They will have powerful effects beyond the auto industry. Insurers, for example, will have new ways to monitor driver behavior, reward good drivers and distribute costs to bad ones. And ride-sharing companies can better connect idle cars with the customers that need them.

Ride sharing may be a mixed blessing for the auto industry. The majority of vehicles worldwide are used only to commute or for short trips during the day, leaving them idle 95% of the time. If drivers decide to forgo ownership and access cars only when they need them, car sales may be hurt.

Connected cars—especially self-driving ones—could also change the way people use their drive time. In a 2013 survey, more than 50% of respondents said they would prefer to listen to music, talk on the phone, watch videos or browse the Internet while traveling by car.

Long commutes make you fat, tired, and miserable

Source: http://www.vox.com/2015/5/20/8629881/commuting-health-happiness

Many Americans are obsessed with rooting out things that make us unhealthy — even to the point of overkill. We detox, we avoid gluten, we devise excessively complicated exercise regimes (even though these are all unnecessary).
And yet for some reason, we seem to have no problem doing a simple activity every single weekday that's associated with obesity, high blood pressure, sleeplessness, and general unhappiness.
That activity is commuting — or at least commuting alone by car.
commuting chart
About 85 percent of Americans get to work by car, spending an average of 50 minutesround-trip sitting on their butts. Given everything we've recently learned about the health problems linked to sitting all day at work, it might not be a huge surprise that a long, sedentary commute is also associated with several different health problems, including obesity.
But what might be a surprise is how dramatically a long commute affects people's self-reported rates of well-being, stress, and overall satisfaction with life — if you do it alone.
Spending more than two hours of your day commuting — as 8.3 percent of American workers now do — will probably make you miserable. But there's research that suggests doing it with other people will make it far less unbearable.

How long commutes lead to obesity

(Getty Images)
The association between long drives to work and poor health has turned up in a number of different studies (see this Slate article by Annie Lowrey for one excellent overview).
"We've found that people who commute longer distances are less fit, more likely to beobese, and have worse metabolic outcomes than those with shorter ones," says Christine Hoehner, a doctor at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.
Hoehner conducted a study of 4,297 Texas workers and found that those with long commutes (greater than 20 miles) had greater rates of high blood pressure and high blood sugar than those with short commutes (0 to 5 miles).
But when researchers probed further, they found that it wasn't commuting itself that was making people fat. Instead, it was the fact that commuters were less likely to get exercise. When the researchers corrected for this variable, the effects mostly disappeared.
On the surface, this might sound like good news. In theory, the negative effects of commuting can be counteracted — as long as you exercise at home.
Unfortunately, the sad truth is that most people seem to lose their willpower to exercise after sitting in traffic for long stretches of time. Economist Thomas James Christian analyzed data from the American Time Use Survey and found that people who spent more time commuting consistently spent less time exercising, sleeping, and making food at home. They were also more likely to buy "non-grocery food purchases" (i.e., fast food or takeout).
Interestingly, long commutes are more likely to cut into these "health-promoting behaviors" than long workdays alone. It seems there's something specific about a long commute tacked on to the end of a workday that drains us of the willpower to exercise or eat right.
What's more, even if you do exercise, there's still evidence that commuting can be bad for your health in other ways. Hoehner found that people with long commutes tended to have higher blood pressure — even after controlling for exercise. And a Gallup poll of 173,581 US workers, meanwhile, found that those who commute more than one hour each way are more likely to have chronic back or neck pain.

Long commutes also make us miserable

sad commuter
Even setting aside obesity and blood pressure, commuting makes us unhappy in all sorts of other ways.
"Commuting clearly makes us stressed," says British transportation researcher Daniel Newman, pointing to several studies — including a study of 21,000 workers in Sweden— that have found an association between longer commutes and higher levels of chronic stress. (This might explain why commuting leads to higher blood pressure, though that's not certain, since we still don't have hard evidence that chronic stress actually causes hypertension.)
One reason commutes are so stressful, economists say, is the unpredictability and lack of control. Not only are you spending lots of time in your car, but you're also facing stress when you hit a traffic jam and worry that you'll be late for work or to pick up your kid.
Commuting also seems to be terrible for our sleep. Both the Swedish study and a study ofcommuters on the Long Island Rail Roadfound that people with long commutes sleep less, while the Swedish study also found that they report being more exhausted and rate their overall well-being lower on a daily basis.
It gets worse. The Gallup poll also found that those with longer commutes report spending more time worrying, feeling less well-rested, and experiencing less enjoyment in life in general. Finally, in a recent British government study, workers with commutes longer than an hour reported feeling more anxious, less happy, and less satisfied with life, and were less likely to state that their daily activities were worthwhile as a whole.

How to save yourself from a terrible commute

(Getty Images)
When it comes to physical health, there's good reason to believe that walking, biking, or even taking public transit is healthier in the long term than driving.
A recent British study, for instance, found that commuters who take any form of transportation besides driving solo had 1 to 2 percent less body fat, on average — and a lower chance of being obese — even when (non-commuting) exercise, age, and other health factors were taken into account. That this held true for people who took the train or bus suggests that simply having to walk to a station or stop at either end of your commute, every single day, can make a difference in the long term.
Of course, in the United States, car-free commuting isn't really an option for the vast majority of people. Many cities don't have the public transportation infrastructure to make other options viable. Many people's residences and places of work simply dictate that they have to drive.
But even if that's the case for you, you can choose to live closer to your place of work.Research shows that in terms of their long-term happiness, lots of people underrate the cost of a long commute (all the time they sacrifice to it) and overrate the benefits (a larger house or nicer neighborhood). Some economists calculate that you'd need a 40 percent salary bump to justify an extra hour of commuting time daily.
And regardless of where you live, there's a surprising thing you might do to make your car commute less miserable: carpool.
Carpooling has declined precipitously in the US since 1970. Which is too bad, because there's some evidence that it's a much more enjoyable form of commuting.
carpooling chart
In 2006, the economists Daniel Kahneman and Alan Krueger looked at how much time people spent doing a variety of daily activities, and how stressed, happy, sad, and worried they felt while they were doing them. Overall, commuting ranked right near the bottom, lower than housework and child care, and right down there with working.
Interestingly, though, when people's commutes involved any sort of social contact — whether carpooling or chatting on the train — it shot up to the middle of the rankings, with ratings similar to napping, watching TV, or talking on the phone.
This surprising finding points at what some experts believe is the deeper psychological problem with a longer commute. "The longer you spend commuting, the less time you have to socialize and make friends, or spend with loved ones," Newman says.
The biggest problem with a long driving commute isn't necessarily that you're sitting down, or stressed out in traffic. As Nick Paumgarten put it in an excellent 2007 New Yorker article on commuting:
When you are commuting by car, you are not hanging out with the kids, sleeping with your spouse (or anyone else), playing soccer, watching soccer, coaching soccer, arguing about politics, praying in a church, or drinking in a bar. In short, you are not spending time with other people. The two hours or more of leisure time granted by the introduction, in the early twentieth century, of the eight-hour workday are now passed in solitude. You have cup holders for company.