December 5, 2011
Jennifer Perkins found a ride home for Thanksgiving weekend by using a new online carpooling site, part of a local movement to cut greenhouse gas emissions during commutes and network during the process.
“Three of us rode together,” she said. “It turns out I went to high school with [the driver] and the other girl went to elementary school with the driver. It was a little networking, and it was a lot cheaper than driving by myself, which was really nice.”
Zimride, an online network, is helping Washington commuters, particularly students, coordinate carpools in new ways, and travelers are beginning to take note. Perkins, a recent UW alumna and staff assistant for the Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability office, said she found that carpooling reduced transportation costs and allowed her to reestablish connections she once had.
The company’s website, first launched in 2006, features a number of private networks for universities and corporations. The UW network launched in January and has quickly become one of Zimride’s most prominent partners.
To use Zimride, commuters access the UW’s network by entering their UW NetID. From there, they can request rides from one city to another, offer to be a driver, or find another group to ride with.
Implementation of Zimride on campus first began in 2010 as a project by graduate students at the Evans School of Public Affairs. The project started with the broad goal of reducing greenhouse gases by changing behavior. According to the UW Climate Action Program, which outlines the university’s strategy to work toward carbon-neutrality, approximately 20 percent of carbon emissions can be reduced through behavior change. The goal was eventually narrowed down to the improvement of driving behavior.