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Scrapbook: Carpooling Across America

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Sierra Club Scrapbook

July 16, 2008

Carpooling Across America

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What if you could instantly create a new form of transportation that greatly reduced resource consumption? That was the idealistic question that led 24-year-old entrepreneurs and Sierra Club members John Zimmer and Logan Green (above) to found Zimride, a social ride-sharing service designed to make ground transportation vastly more efficient.

"The concept is simple," Green says. "Our parents had yearbooks; we have Facebook. Zimride leverages the trust inherent to online social networks to push carpooling to become a mainstream form of transportation."

Using the Facebook platform, riders and drivers can view one another's profiles before deciding to share a ride. Launched a year ago, Zimride now has 300,000 users in its carpool community and has built systems for universities and corporations; ultimately they hope to offer systems to entire municipalities. In June, musician Jack Johnson, who is incorporating a "greening" theme into his summer tour, partnered with Zimride via a carpool link on his website so fans can save gas and money by carpooling to concerts.

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On July 16, Zimmer embarked on a Carpool Across America road trip from New York to San Francisco (above) to raise awareness about community-oriented travel options in times of rising gas prices and concerns about global warming. Carpool Across America ties together the themes of energy conservation, the power of social networks, and environmentally conscious business solutions.

"We'll be rotating passengers and blogging about the trip the whole way," Zimmer says, "and we'll also be interviewing young eco-entrepreneurs en route who are making a difference with creative business, art, and non-profit business solutions."

The journey will be documented by filmmaker Trevor White and covered by green consultant and eco-writer Margaret Teich. Below, Zimmer's girlfriend Christina Garcia Rivas is pictured at the start of the trip.

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Read more about Zimride and follow the Carpool Across America.

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