The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


July 18, 2008

Dive in the pool?

How about it—are you in a car pool this summer? Or swimming alone in streams of traffic and paying $4.29 a gallon for gas, which is the lowest price I saw this morning on my solo commute of 11 miles to the office from my home.

At breakfast, I’d read a story on the front page of The Chicago Tribune highlighting the van pool program offered by our regional transportation group. This matching service for commuters who don’t know each other but whose homes and offices are both close enough to make ride together make sense is at all-time high with 706 vans. But I’ll bet I passed that may autos on my drive. And just a handful had two people in them.

The fellow who runs a free, national carpooling web site, eRideShare.com , reported a tripling of hits, to 2,500 a day, in the last few months. But how many pick-ups does that actually result in?

If I sound skeptical, it’s because I am. I fear I agree with Alan Pisarki, who’s written for the Transportation Research Board : “We’re not going to see any renaissance in carpooling. The probabilities work against people. As much as they might like to do it, they decide it’s just not realistic.”

That pretty much sums up my situation: No one else in my neighborhood works at the Lutheran Center. I admit I haven’t checked eRideShare.com to see about the “neighborhood” of the Lutheran Center for possible matches. Yet I consider myself committed to reducing both pollution and use of gas—for all the reasons we know are crucial, as well as curbing costs. I seem stuck in traffic on this issue.

How about it—what are you doing? And why?

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