It is a sad fact that the majority of cars on the roads during rush hour have just one person in them. Ridesharing to date has a very lackluster track record. Americans are just too tied to their little slice of the American dream – which in most parts of the country includes driving to work by yourself in your own car.
Minnesota is investing heavily in managed lanes – toll lanes where carpoolers can drive for free. The first was I394, then I35W, and several more are being planned. If all of the interstate highways running through the Minneapolis/St. Paul area have managed lanes, there would be a massive incentive for commuters to figure out carpooling. It wouldn't be a silver bullet, but reducing peak traffic flows by a few percent is the difference between rush hour moving at 45 mph versus stop and go.
The Ridesharing Institute and the Transportation Research Board are holding a joint symposium on the topic in Oakland, CA on May 24th. A portion of the symposium will be a free two hour webinar. Details here.
p.s. Another crazy option – instead of the two seat small car that is as wide as a normal car (and takes up the same long following distance as a normal car), put the seats in line like a fighter jet cockpit. These 3 feet wide cars could get away with a lane that is roughly half as wide as the standard lane. We could squeeze in a lot of these lanes and shift folks to a commuter car. I know, good luck…..