A program to help coordinate carpooling in the Baton Rouge area could be available online by the end of the year.
The Capital Region Planning Commission has awarded part of a $100,000 grant from the state Department of Transportation and Development has been awarded to Trapeze for it’s GreenRide software, designed to help better connect commuters to share ride to and from work, Louisiana Clean Fuels announced Wednesday.
The GreenRide program uses an Internet-based approach that can be customized to let employees of a single company connect to share a ride to work or be open to the general public to connect neighbors who might be traveling to the same place.
The hope is that by helping people connect, the program will reduce congestion on the highways and provide a way to reduce ozone pollution as Baton Rouge braces for yet another new, likely lower air quality standard.
Supporters spent time this summer meeting with some of the larger employers in the region — which includes East Baton Rouge, West Baton Rouge, Livingston, Ascension and Iberville parishes.
A bonus of the program, which has operated successfully in other areas of the country, is that it allows people to record their trip mileage to generate information on how much money was saved and how much pollution was reduced. This could come in handy when the five-parish area around Baton Rouge tries to meet a lower ozone standard expected to be proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in December.
As part of customizing the computer software for the Baton Rouge area commuters, the Capital Region Planning Commission is asking the public to complete a short survey focusing on driving habits and what they’d like to see in a program.
The online survey can be found here: http://crpc-la.org/crpc_new/PubInvol/tdm_survey.html
The idea of the GreenRide program has been floated several times over the years, most recently this summer at a meeting of the Baton Rouge Clean Air Coalition. The key to success, supporters said, is getting large employers to agree to promote the program to their employees as an alternative way to get to work and save money.
In addition, supporters said the program has to be promoted well if it is to be successful. Programs in other cities include prizes or other incentives to get people to participate and to remind them to report the mileage of their trips.
Follow Amy Wold on Twitter @awold10.