Local News Archive
Print Issue: January 3, 1974
Carpooling by Computer
By Michael Motes
An idea that a parishioner at Our Lady of the Assumption parish began developing last March is now on the launching pad and should soon help metropolitan Atlanta motorists cut down on gasoline usage, save money and enjoy at least a partial respite from fighting rush hour traffic.
The OLA parishioner is Don Waterman, who serves as general manager of radio station WKLS, and his idea, while not a new one entirely has an interesting twista carpool with travelling companions being matched by computer.
At the request of Waterman, representatives from WAGA television, the Georgia Motor Club and the Comp-Serv Network data processing firm met several weeks ago to discuss a carpool program.
The group agreed to promote a program based on similar projects in Boston, Washington, Washington, Minneapolis and other cities. Motorists interested in conserving fuel and saving money would be asked to fill out a form giving morning destinations, time of day to travel to and from work and preference for driving only, riding only or alternate driving.
To set up a network of localities, a map of the metropolitan area was divided into two-mile squares. With the aid of Atlanta Traffic Engineer Karl Bevins, a list was compiled of numerous work destinations. A pairing of the location of the residence of the motorist, his working point and travel time gives a key to be matched by computer to find others with the same locales.
Termed the Klass Karpool from the call letters (WKLS) of Watermans radio station, the idea has been warmly received by the Georgia Motor Club. An article in the current issue of TRAVELER, the clubs publication, states, Hopefully, this carpool effort will help conserve fuel and alleviate traffic congestion, as well as promote cleaner air. If it does, the Club will offer its assistance to other Georgia cities interested in establishing a carpool project.
The article goes on to state some interesting statistics. It reads: Carpooling can work only if the motoring public likes the idea. When it works, good things happen: money-saving for commuters, for example, since a typical 10-mile trip to downtown in urban areas of over a million population is $2.64. The same trip made by four people in a carpool costs only 66 cents per person.
Aside from money savings, heres another point: If automobile occupancy could increased from the present average of 1.6 persons to only 2.0 per vehicle, 20 per cent of the vehicles would be removed from rush hour traffic. Add to that the improved parking situation for another carpool plus.
As gasoline supplies dwindle, the choice may well boil down to this for metropolitan commuters: carpoolingvoluntary before mandatory.