Carpooling at Grenoble, a SaMBA Pilot

The idea of conceiving a line for carpooling came from the concept of public transport: why not offering empty seats in cars the same way we offer empty seats in buses?


The idea of experimenting on a car-pooling line arose, pushed by a context of budget limitations especially in the transport network, congestion issues increasing or remaining stable and external side effects of the “all-car” context that is less and less acceptable.


The main point of the project, related to SaMBA’s aim, was the implementation of incentives for solo drivers to switch to other virtuous modes. It has been then decided to link the carpooling lines project to the Libravoo platform and its points-earning system. Therefore, users earn rewards every time they offer empty seats in their car or shift themselves into carpooling passengers.

The concept for the carpooling line is almost the same as for buses: the passenger reaches the dedicated pick-up point, connects to the dedicated mobile app, and sees the next arriving cars. He can then book a seat in the convenient one, before being picked up.

The target users are mainly commuters who take their car every day by themselves.


There were 12 passengers picked up within the 15 first weeks of implementation. At the same time, 20 “rescue” solutions have been activated (bus or taxi) by passengers left at their pick-up point without a driver coming within 15 minutes.

The digital link between the Libravoo platform and the Illicov app has been set up by both providers, and tests were conducted to make sure that each declared and recorded trip allocates the users the right amount of earned points. We also made sure that the Libravoo user account is daily updated regarding his mobility.

After 1st round of implementation a total of 8 rewards were claimed.

Lessons Learned

For the rewards or pricing policies to be efficient, the targeted mobility alternative has to be perfectly relevant and socially acceptable. Then and only then, offering rewards can eventually nudge modal shift.

Rewards are a lot more efficient when they are gifts rather than discounts. A gift does not need you to buy something to get it, while discounts request you to do so. Also, giving money is even more efficient than gifts.

Switching to carpooling presents high obstacles. Therefore, to counteract these barriers, rewards have to be extremely high, probably at a point that is not affordable for public finances. That is why a single reward policy is not sufficient: it is necessary to diversify the levers to make modal shift policies efficient (information, restrictions, incentives, enhanced alternatives, etc.)

The COVID19 impact

The restrictive measures and awareness around social distancing made the activity of carpooling even more difficult to be embraced by new users. In addition, the activities related to the pilot had to stop a few times due the strict sanitary measures.