Plans are afoot in Switzerland to encourage car drivers to share their vehicles with fellow commuters in a bid to reduce road traffic and energy use by up to a third.
The aim is to raise the occupancy rate of commuting cars in peak hours from 1.1 on average to 1.5 passengers and to make drivers change their attitude towards carpooling.
“If we want to avoid building more and more streets we have to try to make better use of the existing infrastructure,” Christoph Schreyer, a senior official of the Federal Energy Office told the NZZ am Sonntag newspaper.
He said the government would cooperate with the private industry as well as state companies, to draw up a project and decide by the end of the year on the launch of trials.
Schreyer said drivers could be incentivised by tax breaks and offers of cheaper parking spaces.
The latest attempt to boost carpooling could include smartphone apps that not only find drivers and passengers travelling the same route, but match smokers and non-smokers and people with similar musical tastes.
Latest figures by the Federal Statistics Office show that 3.9 million people commute to work in Switzerland, 52% of them by car.
The government is also considering plans for a transport pricing system, including a traffic congestion user fee for vehicles travelling in certain areas at certain peak periods of demand. Trials with so called mobility pricing are not due to begin before mid-2019, the transport ministry said earlier this month.
Other trials launched last year involving the Swiss Federal Railways seek to encourage car drivers to make increasing use of environmentally friendly means of transport.