Carpooling Unalone - Karwaan

Carpooling Unalone - Karwaan

A classroom project doing user research about Carpooling in India leading to a design

To begin the research, we conducted secondary research to gather insights into the preferences and motivations of potential carpoolers, the types of passengers who might be interested in carpooling, the incentives for carpooling, and the challenges faced in the pre-technology era. They also explored the factors specific to India that could affect the adoption of carpooling.

Through further research, including interviews and interactions with IT professionals participating in carpooling, the team discovered that cohort-based carpooling was successful in India, particularly in the IT sector. Factors such as traveling with like-minded individuals, corporate culture support, platform tie-ups with IT firms, shared destinations, shared context beyond carpooling, and regular commute patterns played a crucial role in boosting carpooling adoption within this specific group.

We carried out some secondary research to find possible answers to this question. We looked at various aspects:

  • What do potential carpoolers want?
  • Who are the kinds of passengers that would potentially pool a ride?
  • What are the incentives for someone to pool a ride?
  • What are some reasons not to?
  • What were the challenges to Carpooling in the pre-technology era?
  • How many of these were solved by Technology?
  • What remains to be solved?
  • Since most of these papers were from elsewhere, what were the defining factors in India?

The Principles for Our System Design

With these insights, the team developed the concept of “Karwaan,” a community-based carpooling platform focused on event-based travel in Bangalore. The platform aimed to facilitate ride-sharing to events, cost splitting, and community-building among participants. The team designed user journeys for booking events, pooling rides, and fostering friendships during the journey. They incorporated monetary and non-monetary nudges within the app to incentivize participation and engagement.

  1. It had to be fun
  2. It had to be community-based

Key Findings:

Aspirational ValueCars are perceived as status symbols, and ownership is often an aspiration in society.
SafetyThe risk of getting into a stranger’s car is a concern, particularly in India.
InconvenienceMaintaining pool discipline, negotiating pick-up points, potential delays, and longer routes.
Legal AmbiguityCarpooling platforms operate despite restrictions on private vehicles for commercial use.
Lack of AwarenessMany individuals are unaware of formalized platform-based carpooling services.
Social BarriersClass differences, building trust among poolmates, negotiating timing, and cost splitting.

Based on their findings, the team identified trust and cooperation as significant barriers to carpooling in India. They also discovered successful models in India that fostered trust and cooperation among carpooling participants. With these insights, the team created clusters of factors that influenced carpooling adoption, including the aspirational value of a car, safety concerns, inconvenience, legal ambiguity, lack of awareness, and social barriers.

To narrow down their focus, the team eliminated factors that were not major bottlenecks to carpooling adoption, such as the aspirational value of a car and safety concerns. They also considered the legal ambiguity surrounding carpooling, which required policy changes beyond the scope of their project. This led them to shift their perspective and explore the concept of cohort/community traveling as a dominant factor in carpooling adoption.

Successful Carpooling Environments in India

Apps like Quick Ride, Ho Ho rides and Wunder are promoting carpooling among IT professionals in Bangalore. Our interviews showed us factors boosting this trend:

  • Cohort Travel
  • Part of corporate culture
  • Platform tie-ups
  • Common destination
  • Shared context
  • Regular Commute and Routine times

This led us to understand the importance of ‘cohort/community travelling’ as a key component in carpooling. Trust, shared community and culture became a significant part of our system design.

Possibilities - Hyperlocal Storytelling

Storytelling based matchmaking

Possibilities - Hyperlocal Storytelling

Booked page

As Vivek Kumar, a marketing manager at Wunder, stated:

“We are in for a longer game, we are here to build a culture and community of carpoolers than looking at profitability at the moment”.

We came up with a piece that details the research more as a team.


People Involved: @BaishnabiMonger, @SamarthGupta, @SarojTailor, @AnantKaur, @MicahAlex

My contribution: System Design, Qualitative Research, Market Research

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