Ridesharing can save commuters money, time, and stress. While creating accessible and efficient ridesharing programs can pose a challenge for some states, New Hampshire has set a new bar for engaging commuters and providing a quality ridesharing program.
With the help of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) State Energy Program, within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, New Hampshire’s Office of Strategic Initiatives collaborated with the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) and the Central New Hampshire Regional Planning Commission to promote and improve ridesharing throughout the state. The collaborative group rebranded the commission's "CommuteGreen" program to "CommuteSmart" and updated the web software using TripSpark, allowing for better compatibility with NHDOT’s New Hampshire Rideshare software. The update gives commuters easier access to other commuters with similar destinations and working hours. TripSpark also allows the various New Hampshire offices to accurately and efficiently calculate energy savings, energy-cost savings, and emissions reductions.
To advertise the success of the collaboration, New Hampshire launched a state-wide challenge to encourage commuters to use alternative forms of transportation. Instead of the traditional option of driving solo, challenge participants took to activities such as carpooling, biking, and even telecommuting.
The software implemented by TripSpark tracked the trips of 26 groups, ranging from businesses to state agencies, who signed up for the challenge. Awards were given out for the “Most Sustainable Trip” to small, medium, and large group participants. An award was also given to the group who generated the “Most Social Media Buzz” during the Challenge. In total, TripSpark recorded that the 26 groups logged more than 2,200 trips, totaling nearly 30,000 miles, avoided 23,000 pounds of emissions, and saved more than $17,000. Given the success of the first challenge, the state will launch a spring challenge in 2020.
As a result of the CommuteSmart program and the new TripSpark software, New Hampshire now leads the way for other states to implement better ridesharing programs. For more information, to calculate the cost of your commute, and to view results of New Hampshire’s newest challenge, the “Buses, Bikes, & Brooms Commuter Challenge”, visit CommuteSmart New Hampshire.
DOE’s State Energy Program provides funding and technical assistance to states, territories, and the District of Columbia to enhance energy security, advance state-led energy initiatives, and maximize the benefits of decreasing energy waste. The State Energy Program emphasizes the state’s role as the decision maker and administrator for program activities within the state that are tailored to their unique resources, delivery capacity, and energy goals.