Montana State University

MSU's Western Transportation Institute implements statewide ridesharing in Montana

June 26, 2012


RideShareMT.com, a state-wide, Web-based ridesharing tool managed by the Western Transportation Institute at MSU, is now available for use by the public.   High-Res Available

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There is now a solution to make carpooling a reality on the rural roads of Montana: RideShareMT.com is a state-wide, Web-based ridesharing tool managed by the Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University.

RideShareMT.com helps commuters to find ride matches, form carpools and track trips. For all Montanans, it is an easy way to find alternatives to driving alone, for both personal and business travel. In addition to ridesharing, it also provides information about transit, vanpools, biking and walking. Registration is free and only takes five minutes at www.ridesharemt.com

"While many people think of car pools as an urban issue, it really makes sense in rural environments," said David Kack, program manager for mobility and public transportation at WTI. "In rural areas we tend to drive farther, whether for work, to get to school, or even to go shopping. It just makes sense to share the ride, and the expense."

Funding for RideShareMT came from the Montana Department of Transportation, the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services and the Human Resource Development Council District IX in Bozeman, which contracted with the WTI to implement the program.

"Many clients who need DPHHS services do not own a car or cannot operate a car, so they need a ride. Carpools allow one more way for people to get to the services they need," said Patrick Sanders, transportation coordinator for DPHHS.

"The more people who sign up, the better chance of finding a match," Kack said. "With gas prices rising, we hope everyone takes advantage of the software and finds a way to share both the ride and the expense of operating a vehicle."

There is no cost to register on the site. Individuals can set specific parameters for their commute, such as the time of day and days per week they want to commute and how far out of their way they are willing to go to pick someone up. People can even register to carpool to one-time events such as concerts or sporting events. College students can even carpool home during school breaks.

"We have had a significant increase in the number of transit systems in rural areas of Montana in the past five years," said Audrey Allums, transit section supervisor at MDT. "However, we know that transit is not the only answer and that other alternatives such as carpools should be explored."

David Kack, manager for mobility and public transportation at WTI, (406) 994-7526, dkack@coe.montana.edu; Rebecca Gleason, research engineer for mobility and public transportation at WTI, (406) 994-6541, rebecca.gleason@coe.montana.edu