Dec 8, 2021 -- Posted by : goi70

Carpooling has long been an encouraged and celebrated mode of achieving congestion reduction. For many years, in addition to our posting of carpooling information on this website, and our frequent requests of the public to “carpool when you can,” we (the I-70 Coalition) have sought strategic carpool app partners, with the aim of one day being able to introduce carpool mobile app companies to the I-70 Mountain Corridor – (apps that allow strangers to connect and travel with one another between the Front Range and the high country ski resorts).

A shorter summary of a longer journey goes as follows: for the better part of the last decade (in this country at least), there have been a handful of carpool apps (that connect strangers and in doing so, take cars off the road), though their design and utility was aimed at encouraging carpooling among routine, five-day-per-week commuters – rather than occasional, recreational users. After a range of conversations with lots of these different vendors, none of them were deemed a good fit for the I-70 Mountain Corridor. This is where the story takes a turn: serendipitously, in 2019, we heard about a series of apps being designed and developed for the I-70 Mountain Corridor and in our own backyard of Colorado! We forged partnerships between the State, ski resorts, and the apps – and upon their completion, a launch was planned for late, 2019. HOWEVER, these apps received cease and desist letters from the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies. The problem was that under current state definitions, these carpool apps would be categorized as “Transportation Network Companies” or TNCs – the same category that platforms such as Uber and Lyft exist in. This meant that they would be subject to the same costly registration fees, (though that would prevent them from being able to operate, as these new carpooling-centric mobile apps are not built for profits – their model is priced in a way that merely reimburses the driver for gas and incentives them to offer up their extra seats). The Corridor's State Representative Julie McCluskie and the I-70 Coalition led a Legislative Effort to introduce a new Bill relating to these carpool apps. In Spring of 2021, (while Colorado began to open up again following the first year of COVID-19), Colorado passed House Bill 21-1076, allowing these apps to legally operate. That brings us to today. The apps are completed, legal, registered with CDOT, and live in the Apple App and Google Play stores!!

The following is a statement from our Director, Margaret Bowes. “Increasing the occupancy of vehicles traveling the mountain corridor on weekends is key to reducing I-70 congestion, and carpooling is an important component of that strategy.  This will be the first time the mountain corridor has had robust carpooling platforms designed for the weekend I-70 traveler. App users will save money, reduce traffic, lessen their carbon footprint and possibly make new friends, too.”

Our Coalition has 28 members including towns, counties, and ski resorts. The entire purpose of our existence to work towards an I-70 that is easier and more reliable to travel. During busy ski weekends, more than 50,000 vehicles can travel through the Eisenhower Tunnel in one day. Per our most recent studies, average vehicle occupancy is 2.6 people per vehicle, and more than 400 cars per hour must be removed during peak hours, to achieve free-flow traffic on the highway. These new carpool apps, Treadshare and Caravan, aim to increase that average vehicle occupancy and reduce cars on the road. Help us celebrate by visiting these apps on their websites and in the app stores, downloading them, and trying them out!


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