A simple explanation of mobility terms: What are the differences between carsharing, ridepooling, ridesharing, ridehailing, and carpooling?

In a time, when traffic jams, parking problems, and high CO2 emissions are an afterthought, we will live in a world where people can get from place to place efficiently, comfortably and in an environmentally friendly way. We explain how on-demand concepts are already contributing to the mobility revolution today. 

Concepts such as carsharing, ridepooling, ridehailing and carpooling play an important role in the mobility revolution. They are also known as on-demand mobility or demand-responsive transport (DRT). They all aim to make transport more efficient, save resources and contribute to less traffic on the roads.  

But what are the differences? And more importantly - how can they contribute to sustainable mobility and make traveling more enjoyable for each and every one of us? In this blog post, we explain the different terms, name some of the leading companies in Germany and take a look at the differences and characteristics of each concepts. 


Ridehailing, which means "summoning a ride", refers to taxi-like rides provided by car rental companies through mobility platforms such as Uber, Bolt or FreeNow. You book a ride and will be driven directly from your chosen starting point to your desired destination. There are no detours and the ride is not shared with others. Booking can be made through an app or by phone. 

The idea of ridehailing is to offer users a private, comfortable and often cheaper alternative to traditional taxis. In terms of modal shift, they help to reduce the number of private vehicles, but can also lead to an increase in traffic and CO2 emissions as empty vehicles drive around town to their next customer. 

When is ridehailing the best option?  

Ridehailing is particularly suitable for spontaneous trips with a clear destination, such as after a meal at a restaurant or for quick transport to the airport. There is no need to search for a parking space and passengers arrive directly at their destination. This service is particularly attractive for people living in the city, who do not own a car and occasionally need a quick, direct ride. 

What is the optimal route for ridehailing?  

Ridehailing is mostly used for short distances. The main advantage is not necessarily the use for a specific distance, but the flexibility and speed. Ridehailing takes you directly to your destination either without, or with only a short waiting time. For example, this may be appropriate for a business trip to a foreign city where you need reliable transportation from the hotel to the convention center. 


Unlike ridehailing, ridepooling (sometimes also called ridesharing, (partly also called ridesharing, more information can be found here). allows multiple people to share a vehicle, even if they have different starting points and destinations. This is the case with commercial services such as MOIA. Several passengers are comfortably transported at the same time, which means that the costs are shared among the passengers and the environmental impact is reduced accordingly. Booking is usually done through an app or by phone and the vehicle's route dynamically adapts to the needs of the passengers. 

The ridepooling strategy is based on efficiency and community. By pooling their trips, multiple passengers use fewer vehicles, thus reducing both traffic and emissions. Rides are usually cheaper than ridehailing services, but also require users to be flexible about departure times and small detours. However, thanks to intelligent algorithms that plan the journeys, providers such as MOIA offer a level of comfort that is comparable to ridehailing, while retaining the concept’s high potential for CO2 reduction. 

When is ridepooling appropriate? 

Ridepooling is suitable for spontaneous trips or commuting, such as to work or university. You share a car with other people who have a similar destination. This not only reduces the cost of travel, but also reduces traffic on the route. However, you will need to plan extra time as there may be small detours to pick up or drop off other passengers.

What is the best route for ridepooling? 

Similar to ridehailing, ridepooling is not about distance the distance, but about being able to travel in a comfortable and environmentally friendly way, without having to change your mobility choice while traveling. It is about the efficient use of the desired route. If possible, several passengers should travel to a similar destination at the same time, which is ensured by a dynamic algorithm. A ridepooling service like MOIA could be a good alternative to car ownership and is an important complement to public transportation.  


Carpooling is called “Mitfahrgelegenheit” in German. An individual who is traveling a certain distance offers to give rides to other people in exchange for a share of the cost. Sometimes these rides can be free of charge as well. A popular carpooling site in Germany for example is BlaBlaCar

The goal of carpooling is to make the most efficient use of trips. While this form of mobility does not offer the same availability and flexibility as the other services mentioned, it is often the most cost-effective option and can help reduce the number of vehicles on the road. In terms of changing mobility, carpooling can play a significant role by increasing efficiency without using additional vehicles. The comfort level for the user is highly dependent on the individual carpool. 

When is carpooling appropriate?  

Carpooling is particularly suitable for longer, planned trips. Especially journeys outside the urban area are ideal for this mobility concept. Carpooling is particularly interesting when there is no public transport available at the origin or destination of the trip. Moreover, it offers the opportunity to share costs and at the same time make the journey more social. However, it requires a little more planning and flexibility. 

What types of trips are best for carpooling?   

If you spent the weekend visiting your parents or going to a concert in another city, carpooling is ideal. But it also works great if you work in another city during the week and commute home regularly on weekends: Carpooling would be a cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution, and is usually a more time-efficient alternative to taking the train. 


In carsharing models, several people share a car. While one person uses the car in the morning, others can use it the afternoon and evening. You book the car, use it for the time you booked, and then return it. Depending on the car sharing model, the car can be picked up and dropped off at a fixed station (station-based car sharing) or within a certain area (free-floating car sharing). Well-known car sharing providers in Germany include ShareNow, Miles or Flinkster

Carsharing aims to reduce the need for private vehicles by allowing several people to "share" a vehicle or rent it for a certain period of time. This not only saves costs but can also help to reduce the number of vehicles on the road and thus traffic congestion in cities. For users, car sharing offers the flexibility to use a vehicle when they need it, without the ongoing costs and obligations associated with vehicle ownership. In terms of modal shift, car sharing has the potential to significantly reduce CO2 emissions by improving vehicle utilization, but availability is often limited, especially during peak times such as rush hours or holiday periods.  

When is carsharing appropriate?  

Carsharing is ideal for people who only need a car occasionally and do not want the expense and commitment of car ownership. It is particularly suitable for shopping trips, weekend getaways or spontaneous trips around town. 

For which routes is carsharing the best option?  

The possibilities here are almost endless. Station-independent services such as ShareNow or Miles are ideal for spontaneous shopping trips, even if the supermarket is just around the corner. But carsharing can also be useful for local trips, a short vacation or a business trip – especially if you are not traveling alone. You don't pay per passenger, just per trip. The more passengers, the less you pay. If you want to go to the lake with friends for the weekend, carsharing could be the perfect solution.  

The mobility of the future will be demand-driven  

Although carsharing, ridepooling, ridehailing and carpooling may seem similar, there are significant differences in cost, flexibility, and environmental impact. It is therefore very helpful to understand these differences and which option best suits your needs. Only with the optimal mobility for current needs can a real contribution to the mobility transition be made.