by Matt Alderton | September 12, 2019

Ridesharing has many benefits. It's convenient, for one. It's also flexible and affordable. One thing it's not, however, is an environmentally friendly transportation option for meetings and events. So argues group transportation company Event Transportation Services, which this week published the results of a new study comparing the environmental impact of using traditional shuttle buses for group transportation at meetings with that of using ridesharing. 

Using data from the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, ETS compared the CO2 emissions and average fuel mileage of shuttle buses and cars, then calculated the carbon footprint for shuttles versus ridesharing on a per-passenger basis. The analysis showed that ridesharing results in more CO2 emissions than shuttles for group transportation, and that ridesharing also causes increased traffic congestion and delays at convention centers. ETS therefore concluded that shuttles are "the most eco-friendly option for point-to-point transportation" at meetings and events.

"The data is clear," Carson Hotard, enterprise development manager at ETS, said in a statement. "Planners who are concerned about sustainability should shy away from suggesting ridesharing as a transportation option for attendees. Encouraging attendees to use traditional transportation methods ensures that we keep our conferences sustainable."

ETS's findings might sound counterintuitive -- no one disputes that a car is better for the environment than a shuttle bus -- but when group transportation is involved, ridesharing requires numerous cars to deliver the same service as a single shuttle bus. "When you're moving 50-55 people, you're taking 10-15 cars off the street for every bus," ETS Founder and CEO Eric Hotard noted during a recent interview on Endless Events' #EventIcons podcast.

Concluded Hotard, "As technology improves, shuttles will be at the forefront of environmentally conscious conference transportation."

The full study is available for complimentary download from ETS's website.