New York: Sharing a cab may help reduce total travel time by up to 40 percent, with corresponding reductions in operational costs and carbon dioxide emissions, says a new study.
If passengers had been willing to tolerate no more than five minutes in delays per trip, almost 95 percent of the trips could have been shared in New York, the findings showed.
"Of course, nobody should ever be forced to share a vehicle," said study co-author Carlo Ratti, a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US.
"However, our research shows what would happen if people have sharing as an option," Ratti added.
With a new technique, the researchers exhaustively analysed 150 million trip records collected from more than 13,000 New York City cabs over the course of a year.
The researchers also conducted experiments to ensure that their matching algorithm would work in real time, if it ran on a server used to coordinate data from cellphones running a taxi-sharing app.
The findings appeared in the journal Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences.