Twice a day. Five days a week. Ten months a year. That's how often many parents of schoolchildren must contend with bumper-to-bumper chaos in school zones.
And for some, the headaches go beyond regular school hours, as parents must figure out how to get their kids to and from extracurricular activities on time.
Stefanie Lemcke, CEO of GoKid Corp., said such situations inspired the idea of a kid carpool app.
In August, the New York company was announced as a recipient of a $90,000 grant from PlanetM, a business development program of the Michigan Economic Development Corp., to introduce a program called GoKid Connect to select Michigan pilot schools. The program, running through the 2019-20 school year, helps parents set up and manage carpools with other families within each pilot school community, Lemcke said.
"The objectives of this project are to bring GoKid's mobility solution to Michigan's families and schools in order to help parents drive less, reduce traffic and congestion in front of schools and to potentially improve school attendance and to lower tardiness," Lemcke said. "The main problem is that parents don't know who to carpool with, so this school solution we launched in early 2018 will help parents find other parents within their school community that are interested in accommodating carpool schedules for their kids."
The GoKid app enables families to set up a carpool schedule and invite other families they know and trust to join and share the driving, Lemcke said.
Carpooling has existed for decades, but breakthroughs in mobility technologies and wireless connectivity provide more convenient, efficient and flexible transportation for commuters finding their way through urban areas.
"Carpooling is the ideal solution for how you make it possible for commuters coming from five miles to 50 miles away to share trips. That's how it fits into the mobility landscape," said Rob Sadow, CEO of Scoop Technologies, a carpooling service in San Francisco. "Carpooling is the best option to make it possible for these commuters to share trips and not have to drive alone. In most metro areas, a vast majority of commuters travel far distances to get to work."
Carpooling for families is a piece of the larger mobility puzzle that cities need to solve, Lemcke said.
"We think that carpooling fits into the mobility picture by offering a lot of value, especially to urban areas or areas with limited public transportation. We are helping parents save time, save on fuel and control gas emissions."