When you think of carpooling, you might associate the practice more with necessity than desire, burden than benefit. Many people value riding alone for privacy and flexibility in their commute. But the benefits and present-day ease of carpooling are attracting more people to carpooling than you might think.  Sharing a ride to and from work gives you the opportunity to get to know and network with your co-workers outside of the work environment. Carpooling creates a more connected community within your organization. It also engages employees in sustainability. It forges new relationships, makes the commute more interesting, and saves you money on gas, not to mention shrinking your carbon footprint. New online apps are also making carpooling with others who work and live near you easier than ever, so you may even be able to do some business development on your way to and from work. When it comes to flexibility, these new apps enable you to be a regular carpooler or an occasional one. You can make carpooling fit your needs and be as flexible as your schedule demands.

How easy can carpooling be, and how much can a company save? Here are some resources and benefits to consider:

In 2013, SAP launched an app by the name of TwoGo, which simplifies the process of ridesharing for daily commuters through the use of cloud computing technologies. Employees can sign up using their company email address, and the app matches them with employees in their area with the same or a similar destination. SAP piloted this application internally, and saved an estimated $5 million in fuel and parking costs.

An alternative is Zimride by Enterprise, a new app that is currently being used by over 100 institutions. Zimride is like TwoGo, but it incorporates social media by offering users the option to connect to their Facebook profile. This function takes advantage of users’ online activity. It matches people with similar interests to create a more enjoyable carpool experience. Zimride reports that after a six-month period, participating organizations saved a lot. The annualized average savings is $200,000 in vehicle operating costs and 500,000 lbs of CO2. TwoGo, Zimride, and comparable rideshare apps allow employees to easily arrange a shared ride. That takes almost all the work out of the process!

So start using an app to encourage and coordinate carpooling. You will reinforce your company's sustainability strategy by engaging employees in sustainable behavior. Employees can see the immediate fuel-saving impact of their actions. They may be more inclined to apply sustainability to other facets of their work and personal lives. Also, carpooling isn’t just for those in the suburbs. If you live in or near a city and take public transportation to work, consider carpooling to a central parking location for the train or bus. Every bit of CO2 and fuel saved makes our air cleaner and your pockets heavier.