The phrase,'Unsound Transit', was coined by the Wall Street Journal to describe Seattle where,"Light Rail Madness eats billions that could otherwise be devoted to truly efficient transportation technologies." The Puget Sound's traffic congestion is a growing cancer on the region's prosperity. This website, captures news and expert opinion about ways to address the crisis. This is not a blog, but a knowledge base, which collects the best articles and presents them in a searchable format. My goal is to arm residents with knowledge so they can champion fact-based, rather than emotional, solutions.


Monday, March 10, 2008

High Tech Slugging Pilots in Seattle


"Slugging" goes high tech

Wikipedia defines slugging as, "a form of commuting that...combines a variation of 'ride-share' commuting and hitchhiking." Essentially, folks who need rides stand at designated locations (near bus stops, for example), and folks who need riders (for the HOV lanes) pick them up. Personally, I'd prefer to ride with strangers in a government-sanctioned context, but if it works for other folks…

Slugging is very popular in cities like Washington, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco. It happens occasionally in the Seattle area (it's been happening at Overlake Transit Center for years), but it's certainly not an established or common practice.


Today I met with Zachary Corker of Goose Networks, a startup that's brought Seattle's special high-tech flavor to this ride-sharing phenomenon. Goose's service "allows commuters to find ridesharing partners in real-time by simply sending a free text message from their existing mobile phones." Instead of standing on the street and waiting for a stranger to pass, Seattle-area sluggers can sign up for Goose's service (for free) and send a text message when they're ready to leave. The system matches drivers and riders and sends a return text message with all relevant information. Users are also screened, so it's more likely to be safe. Interested? Check out the tutorial on the Goose Networks website.

If you happen to work at Microsoft and live in one of nine central-Seattle zip codes (98101, 98102, 98104, 98109, 98112, 98119, 98121, 98122, 98199), you can participate in Goose's three-month beta. They even offer incentives like free gas.

Of course, real-time carpooling can't offer free wireless Internet access, like the 545. I'm just sayin'.

Posted by Bus Chick at October 2, 2006 11:42 a.m.

Category: Cool stuff



Posted by Bus Chick at 10/2/06 1:36 p.m.

P.S. - I see this service as becoming even more useful when it expands to neighborhoods that have poor or infrequent bus service. As far as I'm concerned, downtown is pretty ideal for busing.

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Posted by Orin O'Neill at 10/3/06 9:43 p.m.

A couple of decades ago (!!) I lived in South Everett and commuted to downtown Seattle from the Mariner Park & Ride via Community Transit. On several occasions, I got rides from people looking for a third warm body to comply with the carpool requirement at the time. In every case, once I got in the car, the other people pretty much forgot that I existed... none ever even asked my name. I may as well have been a bag of groceries...

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Posted by unregistered user at 12/12/06 10:48 a.m.

The field of dynamic ridesharing is on the verge of taking off.

1. Bus Chick, if you haven't spoken with Seattle's John Niles yet, he has a web site that tracks some of this stuff, and he participated in some of Seattle's earlier efforts in this arena.

2. Famous old Seattle pilot project

SST (Seattle Smart Traveler) (Carpool Ride Matching Initiative)

SST is a carpool matching program unlike any existing system in the country. It uses the World Wide Web to allow users to find travel partners for ALL the trips they make during the week, regardless of how variable their schedules might be. It allows users to seek matches for trips at different times, or to different locations on different days. It also allows people to seek matches for more than one trip per day, and for occasional and one-time only trips. When users find matches for the trips they are interested in, the names of those matches are displayed on the screen along with a phone number and an e-mail address. Additionally, SST features an "Automatic E-Mail Generator" which allows the user to instantly send out a trip specific e-mail to each person on the list. SST was designed with the needs of students, faculty and staff in mind, and is available for use exclusively by those affiliated with the UW community.

3. Here's a proposal for yet another variation, "digital hitchhiking," for MS campus: MS hasn't gone for this approach yet, but, one of MS's employees volunteered to write the SW.

- Steve Raney,

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