Driving better together
Let's sit back and start a thought experiment: if only every second car in the morning rush hour could be dropped.
How much less traffic jams would we have and how much faster would we all be at work?
These were probably the thoughts of René Schader and Thomas Angerer when they came up with the idea for ummadum in 2017. ummadum? An app that enables commuters to form carpools. So it’s a carpool exchange? Yes, but a very special one. Because for Schader and Angerer, sustainability goes beyond just giving rides…
Imagine the traffic service is on the radio: on the south-east tangent you need 30 minutes longer this morning on your way into town’…we know this and for a long time it was only a Viennese problem. But now there are also regular traffic jams around Innsbruck, Wörgl and Lienz. And commuters who have finally arrived are often forced to search for a parking space near their workplace. Annoying, expensive, time-consuming!
René Schader’s calculation was simple: if there are two or three people in each car instead of one, the number of cars is reduced to a third. Free roads, free travel.
With ummadum, everyone wins
The ummadum idea was born. The app is designed to benefit everyone: Drivers, passengers, communities as well as local trade. And this is how it works:
To ride with ummadum, you need points. You can buy them directly through the app or get them from municipalities, employers, banks etc.
On the app, drivers can share their journeys and passengers can find a suitable ride. Drivers get points from their passengers for every kilometre they share.
The points can then be exchanged in shops and commercial enterprises when shopping.
Sustainability x 3
For the founders, it was important to make ummadum work on several levels.
Sure – by driving together, cars stop and save CO2. So far, ummadum carpools have saved 15 tonnes.
But ummadum also creates community. Social groups are formed, work colleagues get to know each other. The exchange on the way to work has already led to joint sports activities and mutual help in everyday life.
Sustainability also includes economic success. The app has been in full operation since November last year. It earns money with commissions from partners and every point that is booked or awarded via the app.
Regional added value
No matter who awards or uses the points – ultimately the trade-in benefits regional trade. ‘We didn’t want to offer credits for global mail order companies, streaming services or anything like that. Drivers and passengers can use our points in shops on their doorstep, which also benefits the economy in the community and the district,’ emphasises René Schader. More and more consumers appreciate such cycles.
With ummadum, the sustainable benefit for the region is very clear: nature breathes a sigh of relief with less CO2 pollution, drivers and passengers get to their place of work faster and save costs, and the economy benefits.
That sounds like a magic formula in which you involuntarily look for the snag. But ummadum works, and that is above all thanks to strong partners. Around 60 municipalities and businesses participate in ummadum and spend points.
Employers do it to have to provide less parking space. Municipalities do it to have less traffic in the village, businesses do it as part of customer loyalty programmes.
Drivers and passengers can currently redeem points and make purchases at 400 locations. These advantages are currently enjoyed by almost 4,000 users – and the trend is rising rapidly.
After Tirol, the young start-up is putting out feelers to Lower Austria and Styria. An investor has come in with a six-figure sum and is financing further development. ‘Of course we want to grow,’ says René Schader, ‘but our focus remains on commuters and short distances. Longer distances are well covered by public transport anyway.‘ That’s why ummadum has also entered into a cooperation with Verkehrsverbund Tirol.
New thinking on mobility
René Schader and Thomas Angerer are not dreamers. They know that many people have inhibitions when it comes to carpooling. It is not for nothing that there is rarely more than one driver in the commuter cars.
‘Some don’t want strangers in the car – especially not in the morning. Others are afraid to get into the car with a stranger,’ René Schader knows about the inhibitions. But the fronts are crumbling. There are simply too many good arguments for travelling to work together. Money, time, environmental protection – everyone is motivated by a different aspect of sustainability.
Back to our thought experiment: every day around 100,000 people commute to their workplace in the city of Innsbruck, most of them in their own car. If they were to use a vehicle in threes, we would have two-thirds fewer cars on the road just in this region. And if that would work in the whole of Tirol….
Dreams? Yes, at the moment perhaps. But at the beginning of sustainable models like ummadum there are often dreams. And implementers who dare to do something. Like René Schader and Thomas Angerer with their motto ‘You’ll never ride alone!
ummadum is a Tyrolean success story. Lebensraum Tirol Holding, in cooperation with its subsidiaries (Tirol Tourist Board, Standortagentur Tirol and Agrarmarketing Tirol), brings special companies, projects, initiatives and people before the curtain. What they all have in common is that they play a pioneering role and act as role models for sustainability and responsible business. They contribute to the sustainability of the Tyrolean economy, society and environment and encourage the dissemination of sustainable change concepts. You can find more success stories here (in German only).