A Case for Ride Sharing

My hometown has grown significantly in the past decade—some would argue not in good ways. Being the eternal optimist though, I often try to notice the benefits of situations that can be construed as negative… but then there's the traffic. Nashville’s current traffic could test the nerves of even the greatest saint.

I can measure my personal distance from sainthood by the fact that my blood pressure starts to rise just from having cars in close proximity to mine. My response has improved over the years, since I now just mutter under my breath to the guy who cuts me off in traffic, “Thanks a lot, buddy,” instead of calling a complete stranger a name I would hate for anyone to hear me utter. But on my worst days, that habit can certainly resurface.

The interesting thing is that, saint or no, most everyone gripes about the local traffic. I've certainly seen others in traffic treat it like its existence is at best a personal affront to their plans in life and at worst, the very end of the world. It's just a car ride--a small moment in time in the scheme of things, and we’re behind the wheel of what can easily become a weapon. We need to calm ourselves down, and calm the traffic.

In Nashville few people can agree on the best way to manage traffic. Public transit requires funding that fiscally minded people like to shoot down. Light rail requires construction that could affect businesses and residents negatively in the short term so therefore it never gets off the ground. Bike lanes would be super if they could all be built and connected in a day, but they would only serve a small segment of the population. Car-pooling requires us to temporarily give up our car and the control of driving whenever we feel the impulse or need.

As a culture, we love our cars, and in general we aren't a patient lot. Traffic calming can create so many benefits, some that might not be immediately visible but over time can be quite positive. Reducing traffic will reduce pollution, including that smog you see on the sky line. Our reliance on oil might even be held in check. Our temperaments as a whole might have better reason for friendliness. These are just a few of the benefits.

I work from home in an urban area so I don't pretend to know how hard it can be not have a car when you want and/or need it during the workday. But this I do know: there are areas where we can change our habits. This is why I have been thrilled to be part of the team in partnership with ChandlerThinks to create a series of promotional materials and ads to encourage van-pooling for VanStar. Our creative team’s brainstorming was tasked with answering the question, “How do we get people to give up their cars for a few hours and ride share to work?” The clever and creative copywriter Kevin Endres came up with the perfect answer. After reading the headline, who can resist learning more about the program? The copy gets right to the point. The photography is perfectly shot by the talented Sheri O'Neal Photography. The graphics support the message with a quick read.

An ad targeted for workers who commute long distances.

An ad targeted for workers who commute long distances.

The cover of a direct mail brochure also targeted for workers who commute long distances.

The cover of a direct mail brochure also targeted for workers who commute long distances.

The brochure cover targeted for human resource directors.

The brochure cover targeted for human resource directors.

VanStar’s services deserve a place in the spotlight and their target audience isn't the only group that benefits by utilizing their services. The community as a whole gains too. And yet another benefit: van-pooling can be its own micro-community on wheels. (There's my native optimism again!)

Working on campaigns like this one makes my job such a joy. You’ve heard it before and it still holds true: it's what I love to do!