TORONTO, Feb. 6, 2012 /CNW/ - Today marks the beginning of Carpool Week, an annual awareness campaign presented by Metrolinx's Smart Commute Program, aimed at getting more people to share the ride to work.
Commuters surveyed by Smart Commute consistently cite cost savings and reducing the stress of battling traffic congestion as the top two reasons why they choose to carpool.
For people like CarpoolZone.ca user Cynthia Koch, who commutes from Waterdown to Mississauga, carpooling has becoming an effective way to deal with rising stress levels, and greatly reduces the costs associated with her commute to work. "I was spending two to three hours commuting each day, a tonne of gas, frustration and a lot of stress." Cynthia now makes arrangements to share driving responsibilities with her colleagues, which she's found creates time for collaboration and brainstorming. "Some of our best ideas and best initiatives have come out of carpool."
Another big motivator for some carpoolers is the desire to make a contribution to improving the environment. "I started carpooling to reduce my commute costs and to reduce my ecological footprint," says Rob Wilson, carpooler and ecologist at Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority in Newmarket. "I have now been carpooling for six to seven years, and I carpool four to five days a week. It is nice to sit back relax and enjoy the view. I have now helped many other people in our office form carpools of their own with the help of Smart Commute Central York and the Carpool Zone website."
CarpoolZone.ca is a free, easy-to-use, online ride-matching service offered by Smart Commute that makes it easy to find a driving buddy. There are currently 1,450 carpools registered in the CarpoolZone database, and more than 204 employers with 524,000 employees across the GTHA are currently designated as Smart Commute workplaces.
"Employers realize that a stressful and costly commute can seriously affect job satisfaction," says Mark Singh, Manager, Smart Commute. "Our recent survey of commuters showed that if we can make it easy to find someone to carpool with, they would be willing to try it. Even carpooling once or twice a week can make a big difference."
About Smart Commute
Smart Commute is an initiative of Metrolinx and the municipalities in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area that works with employers to improve commuting options for their employees. Smart Commute helps employers and commuters in the GTHA explore different commuting options like carpooling, cycling and transit. Our goal is to ease gridlock, improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions while making your commute less expensive and more enjoyable. To date, 204 employers with 524,000 employees across the GTHA have signed on and are designated as Smart Commute workplaces.
Metrolinx is the Province of Ontario's regional transportation agency for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). The organization's mission is to champion, develop and implement an integrated transportation system for our region that enhances prosperity, sustainability and quality of life.
BACKGROUNDER - CarpoolZone.ca
History and Technology
The CarpoolZone.ca website was launched in the fall of 2005. Features include:
- Search options that let users decide how flexible they are in distance, driving times, and other preferences
- Google maps that are used to display locations and map out routes
- Intelligent route matching that improves the number of possible carpool matches. Route-based matching considers the entire route traveled, allowing matches with commuters who can be picked up along the way
- Routes that can be customized to show the roads and highways actually traveled
- More than 40,000 people registered
- More than 1,450 carpools registered
- Combined average monthly savings by commuters of $769,000
- Combined average monthly reduction of 270 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions
- Combined average monthly reduction of 1.2 million km of car travel - equivalent to making 140 return trips between Toronto and Vancouver
- 89% of users are satisfied with the service
- 86% of users would recommend CarpoolZone.ca
- 44% are interested in carpooling to save money
- 27% are interested in carpooling to improve the environment
Carpoolzone.ca is available in seven languages:
- Chinese (simplified)
For more information about Carpool Week and carpooling in the GTHA, visit www.smartcommute.ca.
For further information:
Vanessa Thomas, (416) 871-5974, or Malon Edwards, (416) 874-5945, or Drew Davidson, (416) 874-5975