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Carpooling to do its share against Istanbul traffic jams

ISTANBUL - Radikal | 12/10/2009 12:00:00 AM | İlker Pehlivan

As carpooling begins to take off in Turkey, the municipality of Istanbul has announced plans to begin its own car-sharing program in the New Year.

As carpooling begins to take off in Turkey, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality has announced plans to begin its own car-sharing program in the New Year.

Last week, people logging in to the Traffic Control Center Web site to check the latest traffic reports before leaving home found an invitation to begin carpooling.

On the same page, there was also a banner that had been used in the United States in 1942 depicting a U.S. military convoy and civilian cars, reading, “They did, and we can do so as well.”

Those visiting the Web site Wednesday could not see the banner, however, as it had been mistakenly published and was intended only as an internal test for the municipality’s employees.

Despite the error, the municipality received over 100 applications for the carpooling service. As it is, the municipality is planning to make the car-sharing system public on New Year’s Eve.

Plans for the carpooling system have been in progress for six months. The project is aimed at encouraging a rotating use of cars by commuters in joint travel until the city’s public transportation net is improved.

The city expects the number of drivers in individual cars causing traffic congestion will decrease after the system comes into force.

Some 5 million people, including 3 million in France, have registered with car-sharing Web sites across Europe, with 11,000 people logging into these sites everyday. The French government, meanwhile, has become a shareholder in these carpooling sites.

Formal carpool projects have been around in a structured form in the United States and Germany since the mid-1970s. This method is called “combined intelligent transportation” all over the world.

In Turkey, there are three carpooling service companies operating online at ayniyolunyolcusuyuz.com, arabamdayervar.com and ortakaraba.com.

In the system, commuters travel together after meeting online. Carpooling reduces the costs involved in repetitive or long-distance driving by sharing cars, sharing rental charges or paying the main car owner.

Some countries encourage carpooling to combat rising traffic congestion and increasing exhaust emissions.

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