Tuesday, February 15, 2011

ciCarpool, a web-based rideshare matching service for Central Illinois

New Option for Commuting in Central Illinois.

A unique partnership between regional employers, Chambers of Commerce and employer organizations, local government, and Tri-County Regional Planning Commission has resulted in the launch of ciCarpool, a web-based, interactive rideshare matching program.

Tri-County Regional Planning Commission (TCRPC) is pleased to announce the launch of ciCarpool, a web-based rideshare matching service for Central Illinois. 

This service will allow employees and residents in the region to find carpool partners and share rides to work, special events, or when running errands.  As a result, users will save money and fuel, improve local air quality by eliminating some of the pollution-forming emissions, and reduce congestion on the region’s roadways.

The idea for ciCarpool began when a group of human resource professionals met with the Morton Economic Development Council in the fall of 2008.  Gas prices at the time were hovering at $4 per gallon and large employers in Morton were struggling to recruit and retain employees who had long commutes.  ciCarpool is a low-cost tool for local employers to help retain and recruit employees by offering additional commuting options.

Sign-up and use of the ciCarpool service is free to users, thanks to grant funding from the U.S. Federal Transit Administration and Illinois Department of Transportation.  Users may register and utilize the service at www.ciCarpool.org.  Sign-up is easy, and employees of sponsoring employers can get assistance from their employers’ human resources department.

ciCarpool is made possible thanks to a unique partnership between several local Economic Development Organizations, Chambers of Commerce, Villages, Cities, Counties, TCRPC, and major regional employers including Caterpillar Logistics, RMH Foods, Morton Industries, OSF St. Francis, and MATCOR.  These organizations have worked over the past two years to make ciCarpool a reality.  ciCarpool will make it easier for residents to deal with the rising cost of fuel, improve local air quality, and strengthen the region’s  transportation system.

The Chairman of the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission Mike Phelan said about ciCarpool, “Tri-County Regional Planning Commission is committed to providing safe and efficient transportation for residents of our region.  This new program, ciCarpool, will give our residents another cost effective and environmentally friendly choice for their daily commutes.  Offering an additional commuting option is good for regional quality of life and helps improve our business climate.”

For details on the ciCarpool service, or to sign up, visit www.ciCarpool.org.  For more information, contact Ryan Granata at 309-673-9330 or rgranata@tricountyrpc.org.


Frequently Asked Questions

Commuter FAQ

What is ciCarpool?
ciCarpool will revolutionize the way you think about your commute.  ciCarpool is a web-based ridematching service allowing users to search for carpooling partners. ciCarpool can be used for your daily commute, recurring trips and even long-distance and special event trips.   Whether you wish to drive, ride or share the duties, ciCarpool will help you find the perfect carpool match for all your trips. 
How much does ciCarpool cost to use?
It is free to sign-up and use the services of ciCarpool.  Thanks to a partnership between The Tri-County Regional Planning Commission and local Economic Development Organizations, Chambers of Commerce, Villages, Cities, Counties, and Businesses, Tri-County Regional Planning Commission was able to secure grant funding to launch this service.  As the service grows, Tri-County will continue to look for additional sources of funding for the service.
Why should I carpool?
Carpooling has economic and environmental benefits.  Fewer cars on the road can reduce air pollution, a growing problem in Central Illinois.  Even carpooling once a week saves gas and wear and tear on your car.  Some companies even have incentives to encourage carpooling, such as preferred parking spaces. ciCarpool can make carpooling easy and fun.  Relax on your way to work and enjoy the company of your co-workers.
Business FAQ
Why should my company join ciCarpool?
By implementing a commuter program in the workplace, employers benefit from:
  • Lower employee parking demand
  • Increased employee productivity
  • Enhanced retention and recruitment
  • Reducing and measuring the organization’s carbon footprint
  • Adding commuter benefits to employees’ compensation package at little or no cost
  • Potential tax benefits and cost savings
  • Added points for Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) certification
What is the cost of using ciCarpool?
At this time there is no cost for companies or users.  ciCarpool has been funded for the first year with a series of grants; if the program is a success, Tri-County Regional Planning Commission will look for additional grant funding to continue the program. 

As a business, what are my responsibilities with this program?
Your responsibilities are quite simple… promote, promote, promote!  Publicize this program; utilize human resources and employee newsletters.  To encourage participation, you can hold contests or provide incentives, such as priority parking for carpoolers.  Training will be provided for human resource managers on how to sign up employees, answer questions and track usage.

What about security for users?
After a user signs up with ciCarpool they will be able to customize their search to be matched with co-workers.  If the user does not know their match personally, it is also recommended that they meet in a public place initially.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.