ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis market is slightly behind the national average of commuters who carpool for work, according to results from the 2017 edition of “Where We Stand,” produced by the East-West Gateway Council of Governments.
The information, which comes from the U.S. Census Bureau, states that 9 percent of U.S. workers carpool, compared to 7.1 percent of workers in the St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area.
New economic, social and demographic changes are occurring that can and should improve St. Louis ridesharing, according to RideFinders, the region’s ridematching organization that operates in nine counties in Missouri and Illinois.
The region is experiencing a shift in attitudes toward sustainable commuting, says RideFinders Spokesperson SJ Morrison.
“Carpooling is serving a growing population of millennials who embrace a shared economy and commuters who are seeking ways to reduce congestion and pollution levels,” Morrison explains. “In past years, we saw spikes in ridesharing when gas prices were high or when there was increased highway construction. Now we are seeing people who want a more connected culture and also those who want a healthier place to work and live.”
Carpooling and vanpooling in St. Louis can fill important roles in connecting people in areas where mass transit is not available, Morrison points out. “While our region does not have the mass transportation infrastructure of metropolitan areas like Chicago or New York, St. Louis is less than a percentage point behind Midwest cities like Columbus, Cincinnati, Milwaukee and Indianapolis in carpooling. We have the resources to make us a national leader in sustainable commuting. By sharing a ride with just one friend for one year, you can save thousands of dollars, eliminate 5,200 driving miles and reduce toxic emissions by more than 4,700 lbs.”
Limited employer parking is also creating increased interest in commuter carpooling and vanpooling throughout the region, according to Morrison.
More than 900 employers, colleges and other organizations participate in RideFinders at no cost as “Employer Transportation Coordinators” help thousands of commuters rideshare.
Morrison says joining RideFinders is free and easy, and urges commuters to share a ride even once a week to make St. Louis healthier and more sustainable. “The best part of the RideFinders program is that we do the work and both the employee and the employer get the benefit.”
RideFinders operates as a free public ridesharing service, organizing and promoting carpools, vanpools and schoolpools, for employers and commuters working in St. Louis City and St. Louis, St. Charles, Jefferson and Franklin Counties in Missouri; and Jersey, Madison, St. Clair and Monroe Counties in Illinois.
The organization is operated by Madison County Transit and is funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality program with support from the Missouri Department of Transportation, the Illinois Department of Transportation and the East-West Gateway Council of Governments.
For more information about RideFinders, go to http://www.ShareTheRideSTL.com/
— From the Illinois Business Journal via Ride Finders