Rideshare Social Network Aims to Reduce Traffic, Improve Environment

From: Public Affairs

Finding a way to carpool to and from James Madison University, not to mention save money and improve the environment, will get a lot easier this week.

Whether in need of a lift for a single trip or looking for a regular carpool arrangement, JMU employees and students need only log into a social network established just for the university.

The university has partnered with Zimride, the largest online social rideshare community in North America, to provide the service. JMU employees and students can log into the system with their electronic IDs at http://zimride.jmu.edu.

Once logged in, students, faculty and staff will be able to find others with similar commuting patterns or one-time rides. The system also provides for optional interaction with Facebook, and Zimriders can view profiles for common networks, interests and friends before deciding to share a ride.

"After many years of discussing commuting and guaranteed ride solutions, we are excited to pilot a program that will allow our community to easily find and share rides," said Christie-Joy Hartman, director of the JMU Institute for Stewardship of the Natural World. "Zimride's program will offer everyone on campus the opportunity to reduce congestion, save money and improve our environment."

In 2009, the Department of Labor reported that the average U.S. household spent over 17 percent of its annual income on transportation. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, driving personal vehicles contributes 19 percent of overall carbon dioxide emissions.

Zimride has more than 350,000 users and has implemented private rideshare communities for more than 50 of the nationís leading universities, including Stanford, UCLA, University of Michigan, George Mason, University of Maryland, West Virginia University, Cornell University and University of North Carolina.


Published Sept. 6, 2010