The City of Colwood is working on yet another tool to help reduce traffic congestion in the community.
With the introduction of the GOCO app this spring, the city aims to make it easier than ever for residents to organize car pools or connect with other cyclists heading in the same direction to ride together.
“It’s intended to fulfill one of council’s strategic priorities – enhancing mobility in Colwood,” said communications manager Sandra Russell. “One of the measures for that goal is transportation mode shift away from single-occupancy vehicles and toward more active transportation and ride sharing.”
The city has targets of increasing pedestrian mode share by five per cent, public transit by 10 per cent and cycling by five per cent, all by 2026.
The app platform is provided by RideShark and has been customized to meet Colwood’s needs and match its branding. The same platform is already in use other municipalities such as Vancouver and Banff, as well as the province of Manitoba.
According to a report presented to council, the platform will cost the city $6,000 per year to operate, but Russell told council there is the opportunity to renegotiate that rate should other municipalities in the area join on in the future. Among the residents who could benefit from the service, she said, include post-secondary students who drive solo and pay for parking, staff members at the region’s hospitals, and service members working at CFB Esquimalt.
In a Feb. 14 council meeting, staff were given the go-ahead to prepare for a soft-launch of the app in the spring, and Russell said the aim is for that to happen in March. In the meantime, staff are performing additional user testing to help refine the experience and preparing detailed instructions for using the app, so residents can get the most out of it.
“We want people to start thinking about how they might use an app like this, or whether they would be interested in inviting people to ride with them. We want people to start getting their heads around how this might be helpful for them,” Russell said.