SmartCommute Challenge Kicks off in RTP!

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North Carolina’s Department of Transportation Secretary Gene Conti and Deputy Director Sheila Holman from the Division of Air Quality of North Carolina’s Department of Environmental and Natural Resources will take the Challenge – the SmartCommute Challenge.  During this year’s kick-off event “Curb Your Congestion” on April 15th at 9:00a.m., Secretary Conti and Deputy Director Holman will give remarks on the importance of using alternative modes of transit in relation to the growth of the Triangle, the state of transportation in the Triangle and how the SmartCommute Challenge is a great way change commuting habits and improve the Triangle’s air quality.

The 2010 SmartCommute Challenge, 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 15 and May 15.

“Events like the SmartCommute Challenge can increase the number of people on those buses, on bikes or in vanpools and take even more cars off the road,” says Secretary Conti.

AAA of the Carolinas recently reported that the cost of driving in North Carolina is on the rise.  The average cost of driving a sedan is up to $9,098 from $8399 in 2008 which is an increase to 61 cents a mile. With the economy still recovering, Triangle residents can mitigate the price hike by finding different ways to commute. Choosing sustainable transportation can save a driver up to $25/day for a 40-mile commute to and from work.

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

  • Bicycle safety checks provided by REI staff,
  • Triangle Segway Obstacle  and Demo Course,
  • Melon Bicycles with folding bike test drives,
  • Alternate fuel vehicles displays provided by Triangle Alternate Fuel,
  • Triangle Transit bus display to demonstrate how to use the bike rack and riding the bus,
  • A  chance to meet the Triangle’s air quality mascots, Clair and CAM, the Clean Air Maniac
  • Sponsor and partner organization display 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.”

“Curb Your Congestion” the SmartCommute Challenge and Air Quality Awareness kick-off will be April 15th at 9:00a.m. at the Research Triangle Park Headquarters, 12 Davis Drive in RTP.