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6800 Burleson Road
Building 310, Suite 165
Austin, TX 78744

T:  (512) 916-6000
F: (512) 916-6001

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Tips for Carpooling and Vanpooling

Did you know?

  • Passenger vehicles make up about a quarter of the ozone-producing emissions in Central Texas.
  • Central Texas ranks only 17th out of 25 metro areas in Texas for the percentage of commuters who carpool or vanpool.
  • Only about 11% of Central Texans commute by carpool or vanpool, while 76% commute by driving alone.

Carpooling and Vanpooling refers to an alternative mode of commuting in which a vehicle carries additional passengers when making a trip, with minimal additional mileage. This does not include chauffeured trips in which a driver makes a special trip to carry a passenger. Carpooling and vanpooling have minimal incremental costs because it makes use of vehicle seats that would otherwise be unoccupied. It tends to have lower costs and emissions per vehicle-mile than public transit because it does not require a paid driver and avoids empty backhauls. Carpooling and vanpooling is one of the most common and cost effective alternative transit modes, particularly in areas that are not well served by public transit.

Carpooling generally uses participants’ own automobiles.

Vanpooling generally uses rented vans (often supplied by employers, non-profit organizations or government agencies). Vanpooling is particularly suitable for longer commutes (10 miles or more each way).

Benefits of Carpooling and Vanpooling

  1. Saves You Money:  Reduce wear and tear on your personal vehicle and save on gas, parking, and insurance. In our area this can mean approximately $15/day, not counting parking.
  2. Saves Your Employer Money: Employers offering voluntary transportation benefits may receive pre-tax benefits through IRS code 132 (f).
  3. Saves Time:  Use free time while commuting to read, sleep or get a head start on work by checking and answering emails.
  4. Reduces Stress:  Sharing the responsibility for driving can reduce commute-related stress.
  5. Reduces Congestion:  Fewer cars on the road means fewer traffic delays for everyone. Do your part to take cars off area roadways, especially during ‘rush’ hour.
  6. Protects Air Quality:  Carpooling and vanpooling reduces extra vehicle trips, unnecessary vehicle miles, and reduces congestion, which can lead to higher emissions per mile traveled for everyone.

Tools to Help You Sign Up for Carpooling or Vanpooling

CAMPO’s website can help you find a carpool partner,  plan a transit trip, map out a bike route, and more! By logging your commute you can see fuel saved, calories burned, pollution reduced, and maybe even win a contest for a valuable prize! Staff from the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO), which runs the site, can work with your company to set up its own custom “sub-site” to manage its own trip reduction programs. Often, involvement by an employer in supporting carpool and vanpool programs is a key element to their success.

> Check out 

CapMetro’s RideShare program provides eligible groups of 5-12 riders with a month-to-month vanpool lease agreement including insurance, maintenance, 24-hour roadside assistance, and optional fuel purchasing program. This program is available outside of the CapMetro service area, but groups with commutes that begin or end in the service area are eligible for a $450-$500 monthly subsidy.

> Check out CapMetro’s Rideshare program.

Information to discuss carpooling or vanpooling with your employer

Commuter benefits help employees get to and from work in ways that cut air pollution, improve public health, increase worker productivity, and reduce expenses and taxes for employers and employees.

> Read details about the benefits of vanpooling.
> Read details about the benefits of carpooling.

To help encourage carpooling and vanpooling, employers should consider implementing the following incentives:

  • Centralize commute options information so that it is easy for employees to access and use
  • Promote the availability of commuter benefits to employees
  • Provide access to an emergency ride home (ERH) program

Other incentives may include: 

  • Membership in a local ozone awareness program
  • Ridesharing or carpool matching, either in-house or through a local or regional agency
  • Pre-tax vanpool benefits
  • Parking at park-and-ride lots or vanpool staging areas
  • Preferred parking for carpools and vanpools
  • Employer-run vanpools or bus programs
  • Employer-assisted vanpools
  • Employee commuting awards programs
  • Lunchtime shuttle
  • Proximate commute (working closer to home)
  • Incentives to encourage employees to live closer to work
  • On-site amenities (e.g., dry cleaning)
  • Concierge services
  • Participation/membership in a carsharing program