Employee ridesharing

Employees rideshare when they share a vehicle (i.e., carpool, vanpool) to commute to and from the same or nearby worksites, reducing congestion and overall vehicle miles traveled.

Key characteristics




WSDOT regions

Other names

  • carpool
  • vanpool
  • dynamic carpooling
  • slugging

Strategy description

When employees share a vehicle to commute to and from the same or nearby worksites (i.e., employee ridesharing), they reduce the number of vehicles on the roadway system.

Dynamic ridesharing, or “slugging,” refers to apps and services that allow casual directional carpooling by matching people for individual trips in real time.

Employee ridesharing does not include commercial ride-hailing services, such as Uber and Lyft.

Employee ridesharing reduces congestion in areas where transit service is limited. It is also a useful strategy for employees who work outside of the typical 9 a.m.– 5 p.m. workday.

Employees who rideshare in a carpool generally use their personal vehicles. A carpool typically involves two - four people. Carpools are suitable for both short- and long-distance commutes.

Employees who rideshare in a vanpool generally use rented vans. A vanpool can accommodate anywhere from five to 15 people, depending on the vehicle. Vanpools are particularly suitable for longer commutes (i.e., 10 miles or more each way).

Because of the increased vehicle occupancy, carpools and vanpools are eligible to use high-occupancy vehicle lanes.

While employee ridesharing can occur organically, large employers often provide carpooling and vanpooling programs as part of their commute trip reduction program. Program managers can match interested employees with carpools and vanpools that operate close to their homes and work with their schedules.

Employers carpooling and vanpooling programs may partially or fully subsidize ridesharing costs. Employers may also provide a stipend for gas and vehicle maintenance.

Carpools and vanpools often get preferred parking at worksites.

Employers may provide other incentives for ridesharing, even if an employee rideshares only a few times a week.

When to use this strategy

Employers with worksites located in urbanized areas with good transit service, high-occupancy vehicle lanes, and limited parking can especially benefit from ridesharing.

Employee ridesharing also works well for worksites in areas with limited transit.

Additionally, employee ridesharing makes sense for communities experiencing congestion from commuters.

Finally, employee ridesharing is a good strategy for communities where clusters of people travel to similar or the same destinations, such as seasonal workers who live in town and work in rural areas.

What you need in order to implement

The following are considerations for agencies implementing employee ridesharing policies for employers in their jurisdiction.

Policy needs:

  • Include employee ridesharing provisions in employer transportation benefit policies that incentivize employees to shift their route, travel mode and time of travel, or to eliminate trips altogether.
  • Include employee ridesharing policy recommendations for employers and businesses in commute trip reduction and transportation demand management plans.
  • Include emergency ride home provisions in employer transportation benefit policies.

Planning needs:

  • Include employee incentives that reduce single-occupancy vehicle trips as a strategy in long-range transportation planning for vehicles, transit, bicycles, and pedestrians.

Coordination needs:

  • Coordinate with employers, regional or metropolitan planning organizations, chambers of commerce, and trade organizations to encourage incentives for employee ridesharing.
  • Coordinate with members of carpools and vanpools, as needed.

Equipment needs:

  • Provide vehicles for employee ridesharing.
  • Reserve parking spaces for employee ridesharing vehicles in parking lots. 

Agency resources needs:

  • Make staff available to work with employers; develop programs; and write, revise, and interpret employee ridesharing policies.

Learn more about this strategy

Best Workplaces for Commuters, Emergency Ride Home Toolkit. 2019.

Federal Highway Administration, Expanding Traveler Choices through the Use of Incentives: A Compendium of Examples. 2019

U.S. Department of Transportation and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Commuter Choice Primer: An Employer’s Guide to Implementing Effective Commuter Choice Programs. 2003

Victoria Transportation Policy Institute, Ridesharing. 2018.

About key characteristics

Location notes:

Employee ridesharing programs are common in urbanized areas that provide multiple commute options beyond driving alone.

Employee ridesharing, particularly vanpool, is also common in small urban and rural areas with limited transit services, or other areas where multiple employers are clustered together (such as office parks).

Cost notes:

Employee ridesharing programs are typically a low-cost, high-benefit method to encourage the use of non-drive-alone commute options. Costs are minimal, involving a mix of transportation costs (direct) and staff/administration time (indirect).

Technology notes:

Administrators may use transportation management or commuter software to manage employee ridesharing programs.

Collaboration notes:

Some areas of the state lack local transportation demand management service providers or providers with experience managing an employee ridesharing program. Industry peers are available to assist.