Carpool incentive programs are essential for any company-wide carpool scheme to work. Incentives are the what make those that aren’t immediately passionate take part. So, just how can we encourage employees to participate?

Incentive program aspects

Combined with a corporate carpool platform, there are many ways to ensure employees want to take part just as much as you want them to! Here are some of the most effective aspects of any carpool incentive program to get you inspired.

Preferred parking spaces

Let’s face it – in any parking lot, there are spaces that are always preferred over others. This typically includes those closest to the building, for example. So, why not reserve these for carpool vehicles?

After all, this ensures that more people (as each vehicle has higher occupancy rates) gain the immediate benefit of such positions. It’s a small change (and one that can be easily handled with a sophisticated parking management app) but it’s a strong incentive that’s easy to provide.


When it comes to carpool incentive programs, like any incentives, those that help save money will always prove some of the most compelling.

Does your parking lot cost money for employees to use? Offer a discount for carpool vehicles. In addition to spreading the costs among all passengers, this added discount will really help motivate people to take part.

There are a few ways to implement this. While a flat rate is always an option, it’s also possible to provide stronger incentives for people who stick with the program the longest. This will motivate workers to enter the program and not give up early. It’s this gamification that helps ensure long term success.

Gamification & Rewards

Speaking of gamification, there are other rewards aside from discounts. These can still be applied in a similar fashion, using points or ongoing success to reward the most active carpool members. For example:

  • Do you have any on-site cafes or food services? Offer a discount on Fridays for people who carpool all week. Or handout vouchers at the end of each month for everyone that stuck with the program. There are plenty of options!
  • How about a point system? Similar to ‘air miles’, give people points for the number of times they carpool (it’s better to do it this way then via miles traveled, as that penalises people who live closer) and give your staff the option to pick from a range of prizes as and when they cash in the required point totals.
  • Similarly, how about larger prizes for the end of the year, to reward the most consistent staff? These can be much larger rewards, from restaurant vouchers and event tickets to a cash bonus or trophy. It doesn’t hurt to be creative – think of something unique!
  • If that fails… don’t forget that all these drivers still have vehicles. Offer a scheme related to their vehicles, whether its free tire checking, car washing or even vouchers for the local garage. It’s the one thing drivers have in common!

Make It Easy

The more complicated something is, the more likely people won’t want to take part. Complexity is the enemy of any effective carpool incentive program. This is one of the reasons a centralized platform is essential.

  • Nobody wants to manually manage finding rides each day. A central, corporate platform can help ‘matchmake’ between available riders and drivers. This takes the biggest hassle out of carpooling.
  • Let people track their success. Tracking progress automatically is the secret behind fitness apps and other ‘trackers’ – use it here, too!

Educate On The Benefits

Similarly, do people know how much of a difference they are making? Sometimes, cold hard facts really are the way to sway heats and minds.

People are often more easily motivated if they know how much of an impact their efforts are having. However, like above, people are not always going to do it themselves. Here are a few pieces of information that can be provided for them:

  • How many miles a year they drive (based on where they live and the number of days they work)
  • How much money they can save in fuel (the above figure, multiplied by an average fuel cost).
  • How many points or benefits they can gain (as described above).
  • How much are they helping with the environment each day, month or year of carpooling?

You can read more about the benefits of carpooling here.

Provide Guarantees

Finally, it’s worth having a guaranteed back-up system in place. If you want everyone to carpool, you need to ensure that there are options in place in case of emergencies. If the designated driver for the day has to leave early, or otherwise can’t make it, what happens to the rest of their respective carpool team?

There are many ways to solve this, from guaranteeing backup drivers to simply ordering taxis for those left stranded. People should be rewarded for taking up the carpool initiative – but never punished. Such guarantees are a key part of the most successful carpool sharing programs.

Good luck with your carpool initiative & your carpool incentive programs!

Wojtek Skalski

Managing Partner / Co-Founder at Poola.