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Annual Commuter Challenge Starts as Gas Prices Continue to Rise



Annual Commuter Challenge Starts as Gas Prices Continue to Rise

Annual campaign urges Triangle residents to save green and breathe easier by changing travel habits

Research Triangle Park, NC – March 29, 2011– To address the tightness in budgets and in Triangle commuters’ chests that comes from filling up at the gas pump, this year’s SmartCommute Challenge “Breathe Easy” will focus on the benefits of changing commuting habits. With speakers that focus on the need for public transportation in the area and the premiere of new technology that will help those who drive alone shift to a  smarter travel mode, the SmartCommute Kick-off on April 1st will show Triangle residents ways to cut their transportation costs by helping plan smart trips.

The 2011 SmartCommute Challenge, presented by GoTriangle and SmartCommute@rtp, is an annual non-profit public service campaign aimed at reducing traffic congestion and improving air quality in the Triangle, encourages commuters who work or live in Durham, Orange or Wake counties to pledge to ride the bus, carpool, join a vanpool, telework, bike or walk to work at least once between April 1 and June 1.

In a recent release,  the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) stated ‘riding public transportation saves individuals, on average, $9,904 annually and $825 per month based on the March 4, 2011 average national gas price ($3.47 per gallon-reported by AAA) and the national unreserved monthly parking rate.  This is the highest savings for public transit riders in two years.’ With this type of savings out there, it’s a great time to learn how to commute in an economical way. 

“Breathe Easy”, the SmartCommute Challenge and Air Quality Awareness kick-off will be April 1st at 9:00a.m. at the Research Triangle Park Headquarters, 12 Davis Drive in RTP. 

This year’s kick-off event is a transportation and air quality fair featuring:

  • Bicycle safety checks provided by REI staff,
  • Trip Planning tables featuring information on commuting by bike, bus, carpools, and vanpools,
  • Alternate fuel vehicles displays provided by Triangle Clean Cities,
  • Air quality information from Triangle Air Awareness,
  • Triangle Transit bus display holding an “Art in Transit” exhibit (art provided by Go Chapel Hill),
  • Sponsor tables with information and give-aways.

“With gas prices at their highest in months, many commuters are still looking for ways to save in this economy,” said David King, general manager of Triangle Transit, a member of the GoTriangle family of services and partner of the SmartCommute Challenge. “The SmartCommute Challenge gives Triangle commuters a chance to look at how they currently get to work and assess where they can make environmentally-friendly and budget-friendly changes.”



 About GoTriangle ( GoTriangle is a family of services that works together to provide seamless regional transit and promote sustainable transportation.  GoTriangle includes the six local transit systems (Capital Area Transit, Cary Transit, Chapel Hill Transit, Durham Area Transit Authority, NC State Wolfline, and Triangle Transit), local municipalities of Durham, Orange and Wake counties, and local universities and colleges. By providing useful resources including a transit trip planner, online transit maps and rider alerts, guides to biking and walking in the Triangle, information on telework and condensed work weeks, rideshare matching and vanpool leases, GoTriangle strives to reduce traffic congestion and increase air quality. 

About SmartCommute@rtp ( SmartCommute@rtp is the transportation management association (TMA) of the Research Triangle Park. Its purpose is to coordinate the transportation demand management (TDM) efforts of RTP employers to address common transportation concerns, reduce traffic congestion, and improve air quality.  SmartCommute@rtp currently has 27 member employers, which account for over 80% of RTP employees. SmartCommute@rtp is staffed by the Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina, developer and manager of The Research Triangle Park. 

About The Research Triangle Park ( The Research Triangle Park is the leading and largest high technology research and science park in North America, covering 7,000 total acres.  Founded in 1959, The Research Triangle Park is developed and managed by the non-profit Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina. The Foundation is responsible for building and maintaining the physical aspects of the Park; attracting and retaining Park companies; and enhancing the competitive position of the Park and the Triangle region.  

Thanks to our 2011 SmartCommute Challenge Sponsors!

  • Gold: Cisco, IBM, Independent Weekly, Raleigh Downtowner Magazine, REI, RTI
  • Silver: BASF, Credit Suisse, Duke, Macy's, Monsanto, NetApp, RBC Center/Bank, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Bronze: Bean Traders Coffee, Biogen Idec, Eisai, NIEHS
  • Green: American Lung Association, Downtown Raleigh Alliance, Great Outdoor Provisions, Marbles Museum, Muddy Dog Coffee, NCSU Center Stage, Town of Chapel Hill, TransLoc, Umstead Hotel and Spa