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Sayantan Ghosh, Intern
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Carpooling for school children goes digital
New app aggregates private vehicles to get schoolchildren safely home, cutting traffic congestion and pollution in Kolkata.

Kolkata - There’s truly an app for everything – the latest being one to combat the problem of pollution and traffic congestion in the city! Kolkata-based Obliqe Systems led by their director by Mrs Janet Gasper Chowdhury have come out with a unique mobile application named EcoSmart Pool. This app aims in bringing together school students and their parents living in close proximity so that they can hop into one car and travel to and fro from school. A digitally enabled Backseat buddy enabler! The brain-child of Mrs Chowdhury evolved from her own experience - being a mother of two children herself – as she faced traffic chaos while dropping her children to their school. “Nowadays parents don’t even realise that a student from the same school as their own, live in the same locality; or maybe even in same the society. Even if they are aware they hesitate to ask for a lift because of the lack of familiarity,” says Mrs. Chowdhury. “I am bringing forward this platform where parents and students living in near proximity can share their vehicles via this application to enable their kids safely and conveniently travel back and forth from school!“ In an eco-friendly manner, we may add.

The application follows a model similar to an AppCab but with sole intention of reducing the pollution levels and stabilising traffic flow. The customer base here is school students and their parents. Kolkata Police had a role to play in the realisation of this project. When Mrs. Chowdhury approached Deputy Commissioner Traffic Shri V Solomon Nesakumar her idea was gladly accepted by him, as Kolkata Police daily have had to face the tough task maintaining traffic around schools, particularly those such as La Martiniere for Boys / Girls and Modern High School for Girls – with students mainly commuting in private vehicles.

Post completion of the app the technical team of Kolkata Police have checked the back end and the Addl. Commissioner of Kolkata Police Shri Vineet Goyal has given an endorsement letter stating that they believe all security concerns are addressed and that they as the relevant authority support and propagate the app for public usage.
felicitated for their contribution towards this event.

This is a public application and can be accessed and used by anyone with school-going children. It however works in a "closed group" so only if any other parents of the same school are offering seats in their car, then that parent along with their ward can pool with them. Currently interest has been shown by schools like La Martiniere and St. James whose authorities have gone on record saying that their students and the parents will indeed benefit from using EcoSmart Pool. Some other schools like Modern High, South City International, South Point, Ashok Halls, etc. have gone a step further involving their management to build awareness and promote usage.

Queries from other tech savvy and environmentally conscious schools are also coming in, showing the app is the need of the hour. “Not only will the application help curb pollution and traffic related problems, it is also cost effective - it lowers fuel consumption and lessens the probability of traffic violation by cars,” added Mrs Chowdhury. If her venture succeeds in Kolkata then she has the vision of taking her application to other metropolitan cities in India, as well.

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