Spring 2008: Sustainable Efforts
EcoRide offers computer matchmaking for carpoolers
By Mary J. Loftus
Commute options at Emory, including a carpool matchmaking service: destination.emory.edu
Americans, especially when traveling to and from work, tend to be solo drivers. Nearly 88 percent of workers drive to their jobs, with 77 percent driving alone, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
John Notarantonio, a senior database warehouse developer for University Technology Services, hopes to reduce that number with a novel “matchmaking” service that makes finding carpooling partners quick and convenient. As a carpooler himself, he saves more than $3,000 a year.
Emory’s 12,000-some employees have access to the service through Destination Emory, an initiative that encourages alternative commuting options. Employees interested in carpooling can log on to the Destination Emory website and view a map of their neighborhood with other prospective Emory carpoolers clearly marked. Using graphics, GIS mapping, and logical data, the system allows groups to assemble convenient, flexible carpools. Although names aren’t supplied, an email can be sent through the service.
“Three clicks and ride!” says Notarantonio, who had the “aha” moment of merging employee demographics with maps of the surrounding area while looking at the data on two screens simultaneously. “I wanted to make it easier for people who might be interested in carpooling, but who didn’t know where to start,” he said. “Destination Emory makes it easy to take that first step.”
Through Emory’s Office of Technology Transfer (OTT), Notarantonio was paired with corporate executive Ron Tolliver, and they formed G2 EcoSolutions to develop the commercial potential of EcoRide.
“It’s exciting to see Destination Emory, an initiative created in support of Emory’s commitment to environmental stewardship, move beyond the University,” says Panya Taysavang, an OTT licensing associate.
Tolliver says EcoRide is a perfect fit with the global going-green movement. “This isn’t just a grassroots effort—the largest corporations around the world are leading the way, which is creating a ripple effect in the marketplace and among employees,” he says. “I see exciting opportunities on a grand scale for EcoRide.”