Traffic congestion, dominated by single-occupancy vehicles, reflects not only transportation system inefficiency and negative externalities, but also a sociological state of human isolation. Advances in information and communication technology are enabling the growth of real-time car-pooling and ride-sharing to improve system efficiency; where algorithms optimize passenger matching based on efficiency criteria such as maximum number of paired trips, minimum total vehicle-time or vehicle-distance travelled (Zhang and Zhao, 2019).

Though this concept has been nearly put on pause during the Covid-19 pandemic; sharing mobility is quite popular, especially among younger segments of the population and is associated with a change in consumer behaviour. In the sharing economy, ownership is no longer the target: the focus is shifted onto service. Mobility is much more important than having your own means of transport. Besides, this mobility-on-demand trend is fuelled by the possibilities that come with digitalisation (BMW, 2021).

In theory, this new transportation option could contribute to a reduction of the number of vehicles on the road while increasing accessibility. In addition, this emerging mode could enable a new paradigm for social interaction through a combination of spontaneous and intense interactions. The unique shared-trip setting could be used as a venue for productive dialogue between passengers. Social dynamics are at play in shared rides and individuals contribute to the experiences of their fellow passengers. Thus, social aspects could be incorporated into the broader design of mobility sharing systems, through the inclusion preference-based matching, pricing, information dissemination, and social mixing. This would lead to realize the societal benefits of interactions as a complement to the potential environmental and economic benefits of reduced congestion (MIT, 2021). However, actors in government, industry and the media usually portray innovations under an economic discourse rather than conveying ideas of social embedding.