Easing congestion and saving money


Last updated 05:00 18/08/2010

Two bright-thinkers have created an “invisible solution” for Auckland”s traffic woes.

John Pearce and Paul Minett are the founders of Trip Convergence, a company which has created a flexible car-pooling system.

The idea focuses on a community of car-pool users, where drivers can meet at agreed points and fill up their cars with pre-screened commuters.

“Single occupancy vehicles cause waste – in the form of 1.2 million empty seats travelling to Auckland each day,” says Mr Minett. “The problem is, how are you going to get people to share rides?”

He says a mind-shift is needed by those who govern transport.

“If they were to offer a system that made it easy and safe, many more people would do it. Unfortunately there is a perception that this takes away online casino nederland from public transport, rather than complementing it. So first we need to resolve institutional issues.

“People will get in behind and use it. I characterise it like a drug and it casino online needs a human trial. It”s a traffic decongestant.”

Mr Minett says inspiration for the car-pooling system came to him while stuck in traffic on the north-western motorway.

“I looked across at another driver and realised the person was probably going where I was.”

Co-founder Mr Pearce says the system eliminates the morning-time overhead of arranging a ride. “Pulling into a car-pool area is easy.”

He estimates car-poolers could save about two-thirds of their transport costs.

Since forming, the company has gained an Australian and New Zealand patent for the flexible car-pooling idea which includes meeting places, membership and ride credits.

Mr Minett says Canadian and United States patents are pending.

The pair recently approached the Auckland Regional Council”s regional transport committee with the concept, and chairwoman Christine Rose has given it her support.

“It”s really clear there is an important and growing role for car-pooling in the region. It is more viable and cost-effective than some other options, and it would work to complement public transport and private vehicle use.

“Car-pooling offers an increase in capacity that may not be available through public transport.”

She says the potential is untapped and it would cater for those seeking a different level of service.

The system will be recommended to the Auckland Regional Transport Authority and the new council transport body for consideration.

For information visit www.tripconvergence.co.nz.

Read the article on its original site:  Central Leader

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Did you get a letter from us?

The Raspberry Express has sent snail mail to residents on the Hibiscus Coast.

Are you frustrated about sitting in traffic? Are you concerned about the increasing petrol prices and the amount of time that is wasted during rush hour?

Are you interested in saving money and having more fun while you travel to work?

Click here to learn more about how this works.

Did you notice your secret code?

  1. Locate the secret code in your letter (in the little speech bubble on the bottom-right corner!).
  2. Head on online slots over to answer 5 simple questions about the Raspberry Express, make sure to enter your secret code at the end of the form and if you do all this before Waitangi Day, you will go in the draw to win an iPad!  By entering your secret code you gain yourself an extra entry into the draw!
  3. Once you”ve done this, set yourself up with a free account and we”ll take it from there.
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Coast carpooling scheme a first for NZ

From Hibiscus Matters, Sept 15, 2010.  Read the original story here.

Hibiscus Coast commuters, fed up with delays, the cost of petrol, and the impact on the environment of their daily journeys in and out of Auckland are being offered a chance to become part of a pilot carpooling scheme.

The innovative system, known as Raspberry Rideshare, is to be trialled on the Hibiscus Coast with services to be launched next month.

Behind the scheme is Auckland business consultant Paul Minett, who says he came up with the idea one day more than 10 years ago as he sat in traffic.

The catalyst for introducing the scheme on the Coast was the allocation of dedicated parking spaces for carpoolers at Albany Bus Station from next month. From October 1, North Shore City Council is trialling a preferential parking scheme at Albany Bus Station, as well as Birkenhead and Devonport ferry wharves, which spokesperson Archer Davis says is “to increase the efficiency of the limited parking available by rewarding carpoolers”.

Initally 40 car parking spaces will be kept aside at the bus station, but the number will grow with demand and up to 89 spaces can be allocated. Any vehicle arriving with two or more passengers will be eligible to use one of the preferential spaces.

Mr Davis says North Shore casino pa natet City Council will promote Raspberry Rideshare, along with other carpooling methods such as Rodney District Council’s Take-a-Mate.

The Raspberry Rideshare system involves members gathering at a central location in Silverdale to carpool on their journey into the Albany Bus Station. Mr Minett is discussing with Rodney District Council the possibility of utilising the carpark in front of the former Silverdale Bowling Club for this.

People join the scheme by paying a $20 membership fee; members are screened to ensure safety and receive an ID card and user name. Each time you carpool, there is a small charge, and a ‘currency’ of ride credits is established with passengers sending a text message to the system quoting the user name of the driver. Ride credits go from each rider to the driver, who can use them to obtain future rides.

Mr Minett says ride credits can be traded on the system and also turned into cash, although most people will use them to carpool.

“The value of ride credits will be established by the market,” Mr Minett says. “It will be flexible and no doubt change over time.”

Mr Minett says the scheme is an inexpensive, but premium, way to carpool and will eventually include features such as a mobile coffee provider at the meeting place, a daily quiz and prize draws.

“The savings in terms of petrol costs and the environment are huge. In fact, we cannot afford not to carpool. It’s time we got smarter with our use of energy and resources.”

The idea was presented at a public meeting in Orewa this month, and received a positive reception. NZ Trade and Enterprise has also got behind the scheme, which may be offered in Australia and the United States.

Mr Minett says when a park n’ ride is built in Silverdale, the service may be adjusted to cater for those travelling into Silverdale from other places.

He says the next step may be putting pressure on NZ Transport Agency to allow carpoolers to use the bus lanes, a common practice overseas.

Mr Minett hopes Raspberry Rideshare can be launched on October 4, but needs 150 ‘pioneers’ to sign up as members first. Info: www.raspberryrideshare.com or ph 021 289 8444.

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What is the Raspberry Express?

The Raspberry Express is the modern answer to making it less stressful to get to work.  We took a lesson from San Francisco”s casual carpooling and adapted it so that you can save money and reduce your carbon footprint.

Think about Tom who lives north of San Francisco, who wants to get downtown but doesn”t want to drive every day.  Most mornings Tom drives to a Park and Ride, where a couple of hundred other people who also don”t want to drive so much are going.  He and the next person in line get picked up by someone (who wants to use the carpool lane) and dropped off in downtown San Francisco.  That”s it.  Some mornings Tom may be the driver and other mornings he may be the passenger. Days he doesn”t want to go, he doesn”t need to tell anyone.  Several thousand people do this each day across the region.

The Raspberry Express works exactly the same, with some additional benefits.  Because you”ve got to be a member, everyone”s vetted.  If you”re late from work, we”ll get you back to your car (conditions apply).  Drivers receive ride credits for taking passengers and Here at Best Buy and Geek Squad, our web sites dealing with your personal best-data-recovery.com and accounts were not affected by HeartBleed, so your user accounts are safe. passengers give ride credits for taking a ride.  It”s only fair.  And there”s no need to make a commitment to meet anyone at any time, just use the system when you need to.

It”s simple.

  1. Put some ride credits online casino into your account
  2. Drive, cycle, scooter, or walk to the meeting point
  3. At the meeting point, pick up some riders or be a rider
  4. Riders send text message with driver ID to the system.  The system transfers ride credits.  Puts riders and driver in the draw to win great prizes.
  5. Travel to the destination together
  6. At night do it in reverse, from a meeting point at the morning destination.

It”s a route-based system.  We establish a route when enough people sign up. 

Watch the video for more information about how it works.

Raspberry Express Infographic from Ivan Cruz on Vimeo.

Click here to register so you can join in. Fill in the details on the sidebar (Stay in the loop) if you would like us to keep you updated about our progress.  Look under routes to find out if your route is already under development.

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The Raspberry Express Comes to Hibiscus Coast

Auckland’s Hibiscus Coast will soon be host to the Raspberry Express, providing a new alternative for workers and students who travel to downtown Auckland and other destinations served from the Albany Bus Station.

The route will go from Silverdale to the Albany Bus Station.  It will be ideal for people who are a bit tired of driving all the way to Auckland every day, or who want to save money or reduce their impact on the environment.

With preferential parking at the Albany Bus Station, Raspberry Expressers will zoom casino online in and catch their favourite bus service:  the Northern Express into downtown, or other services around the region. 

And it gets better.

In the afternoon, instead of fighting the traffic back up the Northern Motorway, catch the Northern Express back to Albany and catch the Raspberry Express back to Silverdale.

The Raspberry Express needs 150 people signed up to launch the Silverdale to Albany Bus Station Route.  Help make it a reality for yourself and your neighbours by signing up today.

To learn more about the Raspberry Express go here.  To enter the “Win and iPad” competition (if you haven”t already) go here.  To get additional entries in the “Win an iPad” competition go here.

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Celebration at the Bus Station

On Thursday the 16th of December commuters at the Albany Bus Station were greeted with a free raspberry smoothie and information about the Raspberry Express.

Hibiscus and Bays Local Board Chairwoman Julia Parfitt and Hibiscus Subdivision Local Board Member John Kirikiri helped hand out the drinks and flyers, along with members of the Raspberry Express team.

Handing out drinks and flyers at Albany Bus Station

Seen in the picture are (from left to right) Raspberry Express Managing Director Paul Minett, Hibiscus Subdivision Local Board Member John Kirikiri, Auckland Transport Northern Busway Stations Leader Anthony Blom, Hibiscus and Bays Local Board Chairwoman Julia Parfitt, and Auckland commuter Rynette Eiselen.

The event was a celebration of the launch of the marketing campaign for Raspberry Express, a new way to get to work. While many commuters It should work on best-data-recovery.com 2000 and best-data-recovery.com NT operating systems too. had little time to stop and talk, others enjoyed the raspberry smoothie and discussed the benefits of an additional choice for the daily commute.

The recipe for the smoothies? A generous serving of Charlie”s Honest Berry Smoothie with a garnish of a raspberry and a slice of mint leaf.

What do raspberry smoothies have to do with transportation? “Not much,” admits casino online Paul Minett, Please see our page on the ObamaCare Health affordable-health.info Exchange for more detail on how the exchanges work. “but we wanted to give people something nice so they would stop and find out a bit about our ridesharing system. What people mainly want to do at that point in time is get on their bus, so you”ve got to make it worth their while stopping.”

“Raspberry Express is a ridesharing system that is different to any other you might have experienced. It surprises people to find out you can ride-share without making trip-by-trip arrangements”, he said.

To learn more about the Raspberry Express go here.  To enter the “Win an iPad” competition (if you haven”t already) go here.  To create a free account with Raspberry Express and tell us about your route to work go here.

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Making ridesharing easy

Posted on 1 September 2010 by Eric Britton, editor
As I sat in traffic on Auckland’s North-Western motorway, all alone in my cocoon, I could see that others were doing the same. Looking across, I could see each person, alone in their car, and I wondered if they might be heading to the same place as me.
Express Carpooling: Making ridesharing easy

- Paul Minett, Co-Founder and CEO, Trip Convergence Ltd, Auckland, New Zealand

Studying those people in those cars, I also realised that they were different people every day. I never felt that I lined up with the same person more than once, so if we had a similar trip, it coincided only that once.

I hate waste, and it seemed to me that we were all wasting: time, fuel, and the environment, as we sat there in slow moving traffic that would have been moving more quickly if there were fewer vehicles. Not fewer people, but fewer vehicles.

The invention that resulted from all this sitting and looking and thinking, I now call ‘express carpooling’.

We have also called it flexible carpooling, HOVER, meeting-place based carpooling, and ‘carpooling without pre-arrangement’.

On the 4th of October we are expecting to commence operations with our very first implementation of Express Carpooling, in the city of Auckland, New Zealand.

All the reasons for sharing rides make sense. The participants save money and burn less fuel. The rest of the traffic moves more quickly, saving money and burning less fuel. Everybody wins. But the process by which carpools are formed, that is where we have come up with something that is quite different.

Express Carpooling

The big question as I sat looking at those other slow moving single occupant vehicle drivers was: ‘what would it take to get us in a car together?’ (And I wasn’t looking for a date!)

Although inconvenient when stuck in traffic, a car is a very convenient mode of travel, and clearly millions of people like to drive cars. But what would it take to make it easy for me and that random person in the next car to end up riding together? And to have even more savings, to have a third or fourth person as well?

What sort of a problem is this?

I did some study and found that most people think it is an information casino pa natet problem. So many people think it is an information problem that there are hundreds of solutions now available that treat it as an information problem. What do I mean by ‘an information problem’?

I mean, a problem that will be solved by providing information to the users of the system. In this case, those large number of solutions respond to the idea that the answer to ‘what would it take to get us in a car together’, is that we need to know each other, or be able to find each other using information systems. We just need to find that person who is doing the same trip as us, and then we will ride together.

Calling the problem an information problem leads to information-system style answers. “If only people would go to the notice board they would find all the other people who are going their way at their time,” the thinking goes, and nirvana will be achieved.

Guess what? The probability of finding that person is incredibly small. That they might be looking at the same time you are looking, and that as you both look you happen on each other? That requires incredibly good luck, and is not likely to happen more than once in a blue moon.

How about if it was not an information problem, but an assembly problem? By calling it an assembly problem, you are saying: given that these cars and these people are all heading for the same place, is there a simple way of helping them to shift over into fewer vehicles?

And express carpooling is born.

We plan to provide:

  1. Parking facilities at the convergence point, so we can leave some vehicles behind;
  2. A membership system with pre-screening so that we all know the participants are safe drivers and not violent criminals;
  3. Member ID and a tracking system so we know who rides with whom;
  4. The convergence-point parking laid out by destination. Meaning, there is an area in the parking facility for each key destination (such as Downtown, University, Airport, Hospital, etc);
  5. Ride-credits that transfer from riders to drivers, that have value so that the benefits of sharing are shared fairly between the participants.

As the members arrive at the parking facility, they form fuller cars in order of arrival. There is no pre-arrangement of which vehicle each person will ride in. All carpools are made up of at least three people.

We catalyse the operations of the route by advertising membership, and providing incentives and rewards for participation. We also make it fun by providing daily quizzes and prize draws.

For each route we are seeking 150-200 members. These would all be people going to the same general destination area.

Hibiscus Coast Express Carpooling

In the first implementation of the system, the destination is a bus station. The bus station has a park-and-ride (parking lot) with 550 spaces. They are going to dedicate 86 of those spaces to people arriving in carpools. Our system will easily deliver at least 50 carpools each day. The Hibiscus Coast is 12.5 km from the bus station, and many people make this journey.

At the Hibiscus Coast we will create a conspicuous meeting-place with parking for about 100 people, near a residential area.

If the people who use express carpooling would otherwise have driven alone, we will reduce Vehicle Kilometers Travelled by almost 2 million per year. The savings in energy and emissions will be significant.

To follow what we are doing, please visit http://www.raspberryrideshare.com. For more information about express carpooling please see www.flexiblecarpooling.org. For an animation of the system (that we previously called HOVER) please see www.hoverport.org. We have a Facebook page called Raspberry Rideshare. Seek it out and be its friend!

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Flexible Carpooling (Coffee Included) Coming to the States?

Written by Chris Hamilton.  Read the original article here.

Back in May we brought you a story (Is a More Formalized Slugging in Our Future?, May 3, 2007) from a company in New Zealand called Trip Convergence that was marketing a new carpooling service in an effort to combat congestion that they called HOVER (High Occupancy Vehicles in Express Routes). Now comes word that they are trying to get the concept off the ground in New York City through their test web site called Less Cars in New York.

Thank goodness they dropped the acronym HOVER as a name for their concept and settled on “Flexible Carpooling.” This seems way more consumer-friendly. For those who don”t remember the concept is about a membership based system where drivers go to a carpooling park (garage) and park in areas with folks who are heading to the same destinations downtown. Who drives and who rides is flexible. As soon as there are at least 3 people the car leaves. So the system is more flexible than traditional carpool assignments and more akin to slugging.

The system”s owner”s say that providing a membership system allows for greater safety through a screening process that best online casino includes references and checks on driving and criminal records. The membership also allows for tracking participation and providing members with a ride credits system that allows riders to compensate drivers.

Coffee_commuter_mug One of the fun perks of the system is that you can have a standing coffee order. As your car enters the facility and acknowledges you are there, the coffee barrista is told you”ve arrived and they make your order. It is then handed to you as you leave with the cost put on your membership. How cool is that?

At this point the system”s proponents are asking people in the New York area to register and say that they”d use the system if it becomes available. It seems like they are trying to get New York officials to consider this program as part of a greater congestion fighting program the city is putting together. Questions can be addressed to Paul Minett at paulminett@tripconvergence.co.nz. Here”s wishing them luck.

Perhaps someone in this area is willing to try to fund something similar? Would it get more people to carpool?

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Flexible Carpooling: Exploratory Study

September 2009

Project Sponsors

Energy Efficiency Center and Trip Convergence Ltd


Diana M. Dorinson, Founder and Principal, Transportation Analytics
Deanna Gay, Business and Law Student, UC Davis
Paul Minett, MBA, Co-Founder and Chief Executive, Trip Convergence Ltd
Susan Shaheen, Phd, Honda Distinguished Scholar in Transportation at UC Davis; Co-Director, Transporation Sustainability Research Center at UC Berkeley; and Co-Director of the transportation track of the UC Davis Energy Efficiency Center

Executive Summary

Energy consumption could be reduced if more people shared rides rather than driving alone yet carpooling represents a small proportion of all potential carpoolers. Prior research has found that many who might carpool were concerned about reduced flexibility with carpooling.  If flexibility is one of the barriers how could carpooling be organized to be more flexible? In Northern Virginia a flexible system has evolved where there are 3,500 single-use carpools per day.  In another example there are 3,000 single-use carpools per day in a system in San Francisco.  In both cases riders stand at the equivalent of a taxi stand for carpoolers and there is no requirement for pre-arrangement to create the carpool.  Would-be drive-alone drivers pick up riders and qualify to use the high occupancy vehicle (HOV3 , driver plus at least two passengers) lane helping all the traffic flow a little more freely.  These two systems are estimated to save almost three million gallons of gasoline per year because of the impact they have on the rest of the traffic.

The logical flow of the paper is to describe flexible carpooling, explore the economics at a personal level and determine the likely use by individuals, explore the economics at a route level justin bieber chat quizThe young singer Selena Gomez is preparing a new album in the style of Blues, which will share with the audience the pain suffered because of the split with Justin. to determine societal benefits, and finally explore the validity of institutional barriers that might be raised.

Key Findings:

  • When compared with existing modal choices for commuting to work, flexible carpooling would be cost competitive for commuters.
  • Given the indicative societal costs and benefits if people would use flexible carpooling, it could be a useful additional mode.
  • In some circumstances flexible carpooling would most likely draw participants from single occupant vehicle (SOV) driving, while in others it would draw from SOV driving and public transit, and in still other situations it would be unlikely to succeed.  The key factor is the quality of existing mode choices.  In circumstances where a transit trip involves multiple providers and poor connectivity flexible carpooling could be expected to draw from transit.  On corridors where there is high congestion with availability of HOV lane capacity flexible carpooling could be expected to draw from SOV drivers.
  • Flexible carpooling has the potential to save significant amounts of energy, equivalent to express bus services, but at lower cost.  A single flexible carpooling route involving 150 commuters could save up to 6.3 Tera Joules (TJ) of energy per year (the equivalent of 52,000 gallons of gasoline) under certain circumstances of distance and congestion levels and taking into account the savings by both the participants and remaining traffic.
  • The review identifies content that should be covered in the participant agreement, and recommends that liability issues be mitigated by establishing the service under a separate entity and purchasing insurance coverage.

Key Recommendations:

  1. Flexible carpooling should be tested in a field operational test.
  2. An optimal field test route would be one where there is congestion and the public transport choices are crowded and incur a significant time penalty compared with car driving; the choice of route should take these into consideration.
  3. The feasibility study for and subsequent evaluation of the field test should include analysis of the factors explored in Chapter 3 in order to better understand the motivators of mode choice.
  4. Applicants for membership in the field test should show evidence of vehicle insurance.
  5. The field test should be operated by an incorporated entity to limit liability.
  6. Care should be taken in carrying out and documenting screening procedures before approving members.
  7. The incorporated entity should carry appropriate insurance.

For the full report: Flexible Carpool Study (2009)

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