A networking site, Zimride, links students to accessible carpooling options.
Following in the footsteps of other colleges such as the University of Michigan, Stanford University and University of California, Los Angeles, Temple recently joined Zimride.com, a social networking site designed to help users find rides and carpooling options.
The service provides a network to connect users with Temple email accounts to better establish trust among drivers and riders.
The Office of Sustainability launched the campaign earlier this month as part of its Sustainability Pledge, which ended April 22. The results of the pledge will be released this week.
“If we could get out of single-car drivers in one car, that would save green house gases,” Sandra McDade, the director of sustainability, said.
Zimride users can establish pay rates for rides with each other. Founded by Logan Green and John Zimmer, the site itself is supported in great part by a grant from the Facebook service fbFund, according to the company’s website.
Green was inspired to create the site after a trip to Zimbabwe in 2005, where he observed the carpooling system used by a population without widespread transportation.
The site officially launched in 2007, borrowing Facebook information to link people based on their colleges or friend contacts.
Although Zimride was created with university students in mind, the site also serves companies and can specifically coordinate rides for events like concerts and venues.
Kathleen Grady, the sustainability coordinator, said since launching the Temple-Zimride collaboration, 136 people have signed up and 85 ride posts were created. Of those posts, 32 were for one-time rides, while 53 were for regular commutes at time of press.
Grady said the majority of the ride posts are for a travel distance of five miles or fewer, while the second largest group is for travel distances between five and 10 miles.
Zimride allows users to chart regular routes and choose specific times and days of the week for travel.
In a transportation audit of 6,902 individuals by the Institute for Survey Research in August 2010, approximately 9.1 percent of students and faculty carpool to campus. The audit also found that approximately 31.3 percent of the individuals surveyed would carpool if it were easier to find rides.
Currently, the majority of Zimride users at Temple are those on the office’s Listserv.
“From fall to winter, we’re going to start pushing it,” Grady said.
“We’re going to send out an email blast for events with opportunities when people are driving to things [such as] football games [and other] sporting events,” Grady added. “We’re going to tell people about it at orientation and when people go away for the holiday break.”
Some schools, like Drexel and American universities, use student-run, ride-sharing services.
“Temple is the first school to promote Zimride specifically in Philadelphia,” Grady said.
McDade said her office was responsible for researching existing technology and assuring that the initiative was approved through the university.
“It’s all voluntary,” McDade said. “It’s good for commuters, especially as gas gets more expensive.”
Amelia Brust can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.