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Case Studies / HOURCAR

Easy Access to Eco-Friendly Transportation

The Hour Car website displayed on a laptop

HOURCAR has been offering car sharing in the Twin Cities for over a decade, but the registration process was a barrier to entry. We built a new, simplified back-end that integrates securely with their system and allows for instant approval.

HOURCAR has been offering car sharing in the Twin Cities for over a decade. Their service encourages healthier, low-polluting lifestyles by allowing people to go car-free, using HOURCAR when they need a vehicle for an errand or short trip. However, the registration process had been a barrier to entry — users who needed a car on the fly weren’t likely to go through the time-consuming steps of signing up for membership and waiting for approval.

To simplify registration, we built a new back-end that allowed for instant approval. Making it work with HOURCAR’s system required integrating with both the API for their registration and account system, as well as their payment processor, which meant some unexpected custom coding.

Software for Good built a custom app with the Sinatra framework to send and receive data from these two APIs. We built in strong security measures including not storing access tokens in the code, and made sure it was all using HTTPS for secure communication. We were able to preserve their existing forms while sending the data to our own app to complete the registration process. On the way, we learned a thing or two about integrating with SOAP APIs, and were able to accomplish all of HOURCAR’s desired features. They’ve already seen an increase in converted registrations, and now have a flexible microservice that can be built out to add more features in the future.

The new registration form debuted just as HOURCAR announced plans to transition to an all-electric fleet. Car sharing is now quicker and more accessible than ever for Twin Cities residents choosing eco-friendly transportation.

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