Carpool matching theories debunked

At Scoop, we’re committed to putting people into carpools they’ll love, every single day. With the help of our matching algorithm—which identifies the most efficient door-to-door trip based on the fastest route, nearby carpoolers, carpool lanes, and more—we’re one step closer to making this mission a reality.

A question we sometimes hear is, “why does Scoop match carpools at specific deadlines instead of allowing you to create your own matches at any time?” I’m here to shed some light on how and why we use a matching algorithm and help debunk some common theories around how matching works.

Why does Scoop use a matching algorithm?

1. DIY carpools are difficult
If you’ve ever been in a non-Scoop carpool, you’ve probably realized that making a carpool takes work and some savvy coordination. You have to find interested people going to and from the same place at the same time, create the most efficient routes, and take into account everyone’s fluctuating schedules. Our algorithm removes this work so you can focus on the things that matter to you.

2. Decision fatigue is real
We want your commute to be easy and enjoyable. You shouldn’t have to spend your time swiping through potential carpooler profiles and coordinating trip details. You already spend your whole day making decisions—this one’s on us!

3. We want to put as many people into carpools as possible
The matching algorithm finds the best balance between the greatest number of carpools, while also ensuring these trips are enjoyable for everyone involved.

Now that you have a better understanding of why we use an algorithm, let’s debunk some common theories on how our algorithm works.

Theory 1

If I schedule at a specific time before the deadline, I’m more likely to match on a specific route.

If I submit my match request at 8:30 pm, I’m more likely to match on my preferred route than if I submit my request at 8 pm.

Make sure to schedule before the deadline

When creating matches, our algorithm doesn’t consider the time you submit your match request. All that matters is that you schedule before the matching deadline.

Theory 2

The time range I select directly determines the route I get.

If I select a shorter time range, I will get a better route.

Do time ranges decide your route?

Your time range doesn’t determine your route, but it can determine your chance of matching. A broader time range increases your number of potential matches, increasing your likelihood of getting a great route.  

Theory 3

The order in which I schedule for the week influences my matching likelihood.

I’m more likely to match if I schedule Monday >>> Wednesday >>> Tuesday instead of Monday >>> Tuesday >>> Wednesday.

The order in which you schedule has no impact on your match rate. Our matching algorithm runs after the matching deadline, and any decisions made before the deadline won’t impact your match.

Theory 4

Choosing a broader time range and selecting “If I don’t match as a Rider, try to match me as a Driver” as my carpool role increases my chances of matching.

Make sure to toggle this setting on!

The matching algorithm factors in your time range and your mode. By choosing to either ride or drive and/or setting a broader time range, you increase your likelihood of matching.

Still have questions about our matching algorithm? Read more about how we make carpools you’ll love!

Megan Bradley

Megan leads Scoop’s Trust and Safety and insurance efforts. When she’s not drafting policies and procedures dedicated to improving the carpooler experience, you can find her at Fort Funston with her gigantic pup, Hugo.