Cruising Along is an ongoing weekly blog series by Bianca Sewake examining Hawai‘i’s alternative modes of transportation.
This is the part in Cruising Along when I talk to city officials about the current mode of transportation I’m wrapping up on. For carpooling, I reached out to different groups—Hawaii Department of Transportation, Leeward Oahu Transportation Management Association, and the University of Hawai’i at Manoa commuter services (vanpool). Unfortunately, none were available for comments on the current state of carpooling and how effective it actually is in decreasing traffic and opening up more space in parking structures.
However, reflecting on carpooling, I’m not sure this will be a prominent path towards decreasing traffic. In 2007, an article was released by the now discontinued Honolulu Advertiser with a headline that said, “Hawai‘i vehicles nearly match state population.” At that time, 1.13 million cars, trucks, SUVs and motorcycles were registered in Hawai‘i, almost matching up to the then population of 1.28 million.
With the amount of traffic congestion Hawai‘i going so far as to get national attention to over the past few years, my guess is that the number of vehicles only increased with time. Just the other day, while traveling westbound through the morning rush traffic, I saw lines of car after car bumper to bumper. Even the cars in the zipper lane were stopping and going, so those who chose to carpool weren’t benefitting much as far as travel time.
Part of the reason could be societal culture. Although there are many who opt for alternative modes of transportation or do not possess a vehicle, there are still a number of people who just prefer having their own car, and the freedom it offers to go anywhere whenever they desire after getting licensed (I myself am guilty as charged a lot of the time). If anything needs to be changed, it seems to need to be the mentality and perspective first, so that thoughts can turn into actions.
What do you think? Comment below with your thoughts on carpooling and cruise along next week as I begin my segments on rideshares Lyft and Uber.