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GéoCar is reinventing carpool commuting with employee clusters

Transportation | No comments

par Elsa Sidawy | 10.28.11

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When you talk about carpooling in a company, 90% of the employees run the other way.” For Benoît Reynaud-Lacroze, prejudice against carpooling is fierce. The most crippling aspect of carsharing? Having uncertainty as to how to get home. A negative that the start-up Ville Fluide is trying to remedy with GéoCar, a solution for commuting between home and work.

Employee carpool clusters

The commercial launch is scheduled for November 7th in a company located on the Velizy plateau near Paris, where three quarters of the company’s 2400 employees use their personal vehicles every day. In order to optimize their routes, a carpooling solution has emerged. A rare bird in the landscape of carpooling, GéoCar is based on the principle of user clusters. The idea: at the launch, the theoretical commutes of all employees based on their addresses submitted anonymously by the company are calculated. From this data, an automated and dynamic system creates theoretical “clusters” of users who could share part of their daily commute. In turn, employees may voluntarily submit their personal commuting routes to be integrated into the system.

According to their needs, employees will move from one cluster to another. And may choose to be a driver one day, and a passenger the next, or find the system that will offer the best solution case by case, so that in a given period, the maximum number of people can carpool together. “You’ll never leave your home as a passenger if you do not already have a ride home,” says Benoît Reynaud-Lacroze, a partner at Ville Fluide. Carpool matches are made automatically when a ride request or a carpool suggestion is issued in the system. The advantage of the cluster system is that alternatives can be provided if a user withdraws at the last moment: “If the driver booked for the return journey is missing, the other drivers in the cluster can pick up the slack.

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Mobility terminals on loan

Like other such services, GéoCar uses smartphones equipped with location-based tools. The only notable difference: in order to avoid costly phone bills related to this use, “from the start, we will give each carpooler a telephone package that will function as his or her mobility terminal.” In order to keep costs under control for the client company, Ville Fluide is offering last-generation smartphones. These will also be equipped with “machine to machine” SIM cards, a cheaper alternative to “voice” SIM cards. Beneficiaries must pay a monthly subscription fee of 15 euros, which companies can then partially reimburse using the same principle as transportation flex points.

This handheld GPS allows passengers to follow in real time the location of the cars coming to pick them up and calculate when to leave their homes. Drivers, on the other hand, with just a glance can view a map of possible passenger pick-ups throughout their journey.

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It will cost each passenger 11 cents per kilometer for a ride. Thus, drivers earn more money with each additional passenger they pick up along the way. At the end of the month, a summary of all validated trips will be sent to the users and payments will be made via automatic bank transfer. Ville Fluide is compensated for its part in the operation by the client company. “Approximately 10 000 euros for the consultation and the creation of the clusters and less than 10 euros per enrolled employee,” says the expert on eco-mobility. No more excuses for being late to work.

Read also on dynamic carpooling :

To learn more about the innovation presented in this article, contact us at contact@innovcity.com

Translated by Genny Cortinovis

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