From another student in Intro GIS
Move over Al Gore. Applications of GIS are saving the planet from imminent environmental disaster too! Recently, in efforts to reduce the estimated 375 000 commuters on the road daily, the Washington D.C. based Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) has improved its system for matching potential car poolers, with help from GIS technology. According to officials, 80 percent of commuters drive to work alone three or more times a week, but only 17 percent use some form of ride sharing (which includes public transit, car pools, walking and bicycling.) The economic and environmental benefits of taking only one commuter per day are enormous: 43 less pounds of carbon dioxide emissions and savings of $26 in overall transportation costs.
A new web site funded by the CTDA, enables commuters to connect with other travelers who are on the same roads each day and interested in ride-sharing while simultaneously saving the environment and reducing traffic congestion. The service is very consumer friendly, allowing details about driving, smoking and gender preferences to be customized. Spatial data comes into play with the free matching system, the central function of the web site. The system allows you to pinpoint information for a physically proximal match before making contact, using data bases with primary keys such as first name or e-mails to guarantee confidentiality. Its geographic system, similar to “Google Maps,” instantaneously identifies and displays a map with potential car-pool matches proximal neighbourhoods or along desired routes.
The implications of this web site are enormous. The average commuter, for some reason or another, tends to have reservations and anxieties toward car pooling, especially with strangers. The effortlessness of finding someone from your neighbourhood who is going the same direction as you means that there is no longer an excuse! Everybody should be able to take at least this one small step toward a more environmentally friendly and economically efficient future of sustainable commuter habits. With the ever rising price of gas and the floundering economy, I guarantee the success of this project, and it’s inevitable duplication in other cities. Good on ya, spatial data!]
[sieber -- an eHarmony for carpoolers?]