Need a Ride? Want a Rider? Michigan Tech Has an Online Solution

By Jennifer Donovan | Published

College students have always shared rides, usually finding a ride or riders by tacking index cards to a campus bulletin board. Now, at Michigan Tech, they have a high-tech option.

With the click of a mouse, students, faculty and staff—anyone with a University internet logon—can access an interactive map and find a ride or rider to or from Houghton. Created by the Inter-Residence Hall Council (IRHC), the IRHC Online Rideboard offers an electronic alternative to the physical ride boards in University residence halls.

“With the rising cost of gas, more and more people want to share rides,” explained Dennis Cole Jr., lead developer of the IRHC Online Rideboard. Also, as enrollment increases, parking on campus is becoming more and more problematic, he pointed out. “We hope this provides an alternative for those who do not want to bring their cars to Tech,” he said.

The physical ride boards have been used less and less over the past couple of years, Cole noted. Until two or three years ago, each year saw 50 or more notes on the physical ride boards in the residence halls, from people seeking rides or riders. Last year and this year, the number has plummeted to about five.

Some other schools have electronic ride-finders, but they are usually lists. “What makes ours different is that it’s based on a map and uses graphic icons that users can post themselves,” said Cole.

On the map, icons of cars mark available rides. Arrows indicate whether the driver is leaving Michigan Tech, returning or making a round trip. A caricature of a hand with thumb up identifies someone looking for a ride to Tech. If it’s thumb down, the person wants a ride from Tech. Users can also post notes if they “need something odd.”

The IRHC Online Rideboard opened for business July 23. During the fall semester, the IRHC plans to conduct awareness programs in residence halls.

Michigan Technological University is a leading public research university, conducting research, developing new technologies and preparing students to create the future for a prosperous and sustainable world. Michigan Tech offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering, forestry and environmental sciences, computing, technology, business and economics, natural and physical sciences, arts, humanities and social sciences.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 54 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.