In a lasting tradition that occurs at least twice a semester, the Amherst College Facebook page gets flooded by posts such as "Hey I'm going to Bradley airport on mm/dd/yyyy. Does anyone else need to go as well?" or "Is it possible for me to carpool with someone back to Amherst on mm/dd/yyyy from Boston?" This process was repeated over and over again until eventually everyone found (or didn't find) means of transportation to where they needed to go. After having to go through the extremely process of messaging all of our friends, all of our friends' friends, and all of our friends' friends' parents we decided that enough was enough. We decided to make an app that would easily allow us to arrange for transportation to wherever we needed to go for a fraction of the price and effort. Taking a course at a different college and looking to carpool with someone? Post an event with our app. Have a car and want to save on gas/and or get company? Post an event with our app.
But we soon realized that the true potential of this app was not limited to college students avoiding the Peter Pan bus. Such an app would enable college students to also be able to carpool with local residents that might have cars and spare room. It could be a means for people that have daily commutes from say Waltham to Boston to be able to organize carpools to work. We believe that this app has a lot of potential and as a result have decided to begin its implementation here at HackUMass.
How it works
This is an android app that caters to people looking to create or join communal trips. There are two kinds of users: drivers and travelers. Drivers create events by providing info about the trip such as origin, destination, date, time, car type, and seats available. Travelers can search for a trip that fits their needs and once they do, they "take a seat" in the car.
Challenges I ran into
Most of the languages used were languages our team members had little to no experience in. Git push/pull/merge/stash/clone
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
We have never done an app that depends on a database (half of our team had never worked on an app at all) so getting the backend running was a big accomplishment.
What I learned
How to set up a database on a server. How to send a request for that information via java. How to parse the JSON files to be readable by the app.
What's next for Carpool
Expand on its capabilities and give it a more user-friendly design.