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Nashville tech company lands $100K grant to increase carpooling

Staff Reports • Updated Sep 19, 2016 at 8:00 AM

Hytch LLC, a technology company dedicated to reducing traffic and easing congestion in the greater Nashville region, recently announced it was awarded a $100,000 Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant from the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

The federal CMAQ program provides TDOT with funds reserved for projects that reduce air pollution from transportation sources and reduce traffic congestion.

“Our ambitious plan is to convert thousands of commuters into carpoolers and reduce traffic in the near future by making it far more convenient to share the ride,” said company cofounder and CEO Mark Cleveland. “We can use an asset we all now have – our smartphones – to fix a problem that’s been escalating for decades – too many cars on our road network. Hytch built the tool everyone can use on their smartphones that brings old-fashioned carpooling into the digital age for commuters.”

The CMAQ grant will help the company build a user community in the six counties impacted by air quality issues: Davidson, Montgomery, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson and Wilson counties.

“The bold support of TDOT is critical to push technology solutions that change driving habits,” said Cleveland. “Congestion steals time from everyone. Hytch’s technology brings us together to claim it back, one trip at a time. The vision is to network Nashville to become the first city in America where the entire driving community is connected to ride or drive and share the cost of gas.”

“We need to think differently and look to affordable technologies like Hytch to help dramatically improve transportation in Middle Tennessee and in Rutherford County,” said Murfreesboro Mayor Shane McFarland. “We have about 38,000 cars going to Nashville and Williamson County, and about the same number coming into our county each day for work. We all know some solutions will be costly, but this is a smart, affordable solution that can get results right away.”   

“Our surveys show 53 percent of today’s drivers would carpool and 41 percent would ride with strangers, but that number just skyrockets when you’re talking about matching with friends, neighbors and co-workers,” said Cleveland. “When 69 percent of us say we would pay for the ride and 62 percent say the problem is finding someone to ride with, Hytch is an idea whose time has come.”

Based in Nashville, Hytch has developed a people-matching service that brings old-fashioned carpooling into the digital age. Hytch offers a free, easy platform for both iOS and Android devices. Riders can download the app for free and use it to contribute to the driver’s cost of gas on a voluntary basis. Company co-founders are Mark Cleveland, Robert Hartline and Chase Geiser. For information on the first true ridesharing application in Tennessee, visit hytch.me.

 

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