September 05 2013

Sonoma County’s Mobile App Assisted Rideshare Program Shifts Into Second Gear

Carma rideshare mobile application Sonoma County

An innovative ridesharing program has taken hold in Sonoma County, California, as  WeGo Sonoma continues to utilize the real-time mobile rideshare app known as “Carma.” The app allows drivers and riders to post their planned and needed trips, and creates a system of payment so the cost of the trip is shared between both parties. Unlike services such as Side Car, WeGo’s purpose is to build a mass network of users in order to reduce single-occupancy vehicle trips made by regular commuters.

WeGo is a joint venture of the Sonoma County Transportation Authority (SCTA), Climate Protection Campaign (CPC), and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC).  The program has been growing in Sonoma, Marin, and Contra Costa counties since April of 2012, and seeks to accomplish three regional goals:

  • Increase the number of shared commute trips while reducing the parking demand;
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and
  • Build a critical mass of users to continue ridesharing once local outreach wraps up.

Nick Danty Carma profile screenshot

Public outreach and internet marketing are the main source of advancement for WeGo. The CPC has been one of the driving forces behind the promotion of the program, with Brandt Arthur, Lindsay Tamm, and Amy McCrary taking charge of social media campaigns via Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. CPC has also created a rewards program as an incentive for drivers to participate, offering gift cards to businesses such as Starbucks and Amazon. Other avenues for promotion include reaching out to local institutions such as Santa Rosa Junior College and regional corporate powerhouse Agilent Technologies, both of whom have encouraged employees and students to use WeGo.

The main issue that WeGo faces is mass participation. However, the program recently received a second round of funding from MTC, denoting WeGo’s overall success. With continued government support and ongoing promotion, it won’t be long before ridesharing becomes a commonality in the North Bay.

What would it take for you to participate in a rideshare program?

Credits: Data and images linked to sources.

Nick Danty

Nick Danty is a graduate of the Geography and Planning Department at California State University, Chico and currently works at the Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection Authority (RCPA) in Santa Rosa. Nick has been involved in several programs at RCPA, but is most proud of the 2013 Bicycle and Pedestrian Count Project, for which he served as the project manager and outreach coordinator. A Northern California native who calls his single-family detached dwelling home, Nick is not a stranger to the ills of suburban sprawl and the toll it takes on human and physical environments. Nick’s travels to Europe and throughout North America have shown him preventing and retrofitting sprawl is possible through intelligent neighborhood design, beautiful architecture, mitigation banking, innovative transit systems and visionary urban and rural plans. He is very excited about writing for The Grid, and plans on discussing projects and programs happening at his agency related to transportation planning, climate adaptation, livability, urban land development, and environmental conservation.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, September 5th, 2013 at 9:38 am and is filed under Community/Economic Development, Energy, Environment, Transportation, Urban Development/Real Estate, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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