Sustainable commuting with new app

GoManitoba app will allow commuters to connect for carpooling

Illustration by Gabrielle funk

The Green Action Centre is launching their GoManitoba app and hopes to encourage workers to find alternatives to lone person car commutes.

Heather Mitchell, who works with the Manitoba Green Action Centre’s workplace commuter options program, says the tool will help Manitobans find partners for carpooling, busing, walking or biking.

The Green Action Centre hopes the app, launched on Sept. 20, will help create a network where people can find others taking a similar route to a given destination. This can facilitate carpooling, as well as non-car commutes, such as bus riding and cycling by pairing up less experienced riders with more experienced mentors.

“Carpooling is a natural fit for the landscape of Manitobans, as we are a vehicle-centric province, and Winnipeg is a vehicle-centric city,” Mitchell says. She notes that, especially outside of Winnipeg, carpooling can be the most convenient option for Manitobans.

“The beauty of this app is that it is open to all modes of transportation,” she says.

According to figures derived from the 2011 National Household Survey, 66 per cent of Manitobans drive alone to work, nine per cent bus, seven per cent walk and 1.7 per cent bike.

For the city of Winnipeg, driving alone drops to 62 per cent. In Winnipeg, the share of transit commuters rises to 14.6 per cent, walking falls to five per cent and cycling rises to 2.1 per cent.

Mitchell notes that the GoManitoba App allows for workplaces to create sub-sites. One workplace that is implementing a sub-site is the University of Winnipeg.

“GoManitoba gives people a leg up, gives our institution a leg up” in the process of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Joseph Wasylycia-Leis, coordinator for the University of Winnipeg’s campus sustainability office, explains.

The university restated its commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in its 2017 sustainability strategy, he says. A lot of work has involved improving building energy efficiency on campus, but the next step will involve getting people to drive less.

Wasylycia-Leis explains that the University of Winnipeg sub-site will function as a “resource hub,” which documents and links to the university’s website on sustainable living and transportation included.

“It’s cool to see so many large institutions in town come together to make it work,” Wasylycia-Leis notes. As a network service, the more people using it the better it works, he adds.

The Partnership of the Manitoba Capital Region, City of Winnipeg, Health Sciences Centre, University of Manitoba, University of Winnipeg, Red River College, Assiniboine Credit Union, The Forks and Investors Group are listed as founding partners of GoManitoba.

Published in Volume 72, Number 6 of The Uniter (October 19, 2017)

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