Real-time Ridesharing Coming to Sonoma County
Santa Rosa, CA – Congresman Mike Thompson took the inaugural ride today of an innovative carpooling technique known as “real-time ride-sharing.” The ride marked the kick-off by the Sonoma County Transportation Authority (SCTA) of WeGo Sonoma, a program that will be launched for the public later this month. The first of its kind, WeGo Sonoma uses new software and smart phone apps to link people into carpools. A number of partners are currently preparing to take advantage of this great project, including the County of Sonoma, the City of Santa Rosa and the Santa Rosa Junior College.
“This project provides short term relief to our over-crowded highways, while helping working families reduce their transportation costs,” Congressman Thompson said. “This is an easy, accessible and effective technology for the folks of Sonoma County to safely and quickly find a carpool in real-time – using only a smart phone or web browser.”
WeGo Sonoma will be launched this month for people looking to share rides between Petaluma and Santa Rosa along the 101 corridor. After that route gets established, it will be expanded to other transportation corridors.
“This program will help people get around at the same time that it reduces our greenhouse gas emissions,” said Valerie Brown, Chair of the SCTA. “It’s exciting to be part of such a cutting-edge project.”
SCTA is managing the $1.5 million federal grant from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Climate Initiative Grant Program. The Transportation Authority of Marin and Contra Costa Transportation Authority are also partners in the three‐county effort. The project is expected to take two years to complete. The Climate Protection Campaign is managing the Sonoma County portion.
Sonoma County is one of a handful of areas in the country rolling out this technology from Avego Corporation, giving local commuters a flexible way to beat congestion and offset high gas prices. Select employees of the County of Sonoma and City of Santa Rosa are currently part of a preliminary beta to test the system ahead of a larger launch on Earth Day (April 22).
The technology, called Avego Driver, is available free by download from the Apple app store or by accessing the WeGo Sonoma website at www.WeGoSonoma.com. Other areas rolling out similar projects include Santa Barbara CA, Seattle WA, and the U.S. Navy operations in Fairfax, VA.
“The potential for this software is huge,” said Paul Steinberg of Avego. “Sonoma County is a great place to pioneer the effort, and it is our hope that it gradually expands worldwide.”