Tag Archives: SmartCommute Challenge

The SmartCommute Challenge: Two Weeks Remain

We’re in the final stretch of the Smart Commute Challenge, with just about two weeks left.  And even though these fall days are flying by, there’s still time to pledge to try a new commute and win some great prizes. You have until October 15 to take and complete your pledge.  You’ve got several options available to you: you can bike, walk, bus, carpool, vanpool, or work from home, so there’s almost something for everyone; with all the commuting alternatives, there’s really no excuse not to try it. And you’ll save money and reduce emissions. And if that’s not enough, there are chances to win some great prizes just for completing and tracking your smart commute. Tracking is simple. Visit www.sharetheridenc.org/challenge and log in or register to get to our new Trip Diary. You can even watch a short tutorial for instructions:


Also during these last two weeks, GoTriangle is pitting our colleges and universities against one another for a fierce Battle of the Brains. Tarheels! Devils! Eagles! Pack! Time to rep your school. Employees and students alike, join together and GoSmart. You’ve got two weeks to make sure you track your trips. The school with the most trips tracked throughout the Challenge will be the smartest school in the Triangle. This is a ranking you don’t want to miss!

Now, let’s GoSmart!

RTP Food Truck Rodeo

Join us for the RTP Food Truck Rodeo
on September 20

Bring your friends, bring your colleagues, and come on out for RTP’s September Food Truck Rodeo!

Date: Thursday, September 20
Time: 11:30 AM -1:30 PM
Location: RTP Headquarters, 12 Davis Drive (Directions)

Participating Food Trucks

Pie Pushers

Only Burger

Chirba Chirba Dumpling

American Meltdown

The Parlour

Sweet Stacey Cakes

Parking is limited, so we encourage you to carpool, bike, or walk over to the rodeo! And be sure to stop by the SmartCommute Booth and take the SmartCommute Challenge.  There’ll be free gifts to anyone that pledges!

We look forward to seeing everyone.

And save the date for next Food Truck Rodeo on Thursday, October 25.

Go Smart with the SmartCommute Challenge

The SmartCommute Challenge is back and this year’s Challenge promises to be better than ever! We’re upping the ante and giving you more chances to win with our Weekly Challenges. Every Monday starts a new workweek and a new challenge. (And if you’re new to the SmartCommute Challenge, find out what it’s all about and just how easy it is to participate here.)

Cyclists, take note!  Active commuters will be the first group called to the mat for the Pedal vs. Metal contest, September 10 – 16. Track your trips after registering for the Challenge and see how many miles you can save during the week by walking, biking, skateboarding, rollerblading– any method that uses your own personal power to get you where you need to go. The commuter with the most trips tracked during the week, wins!  Click here for more information about the other Challenges, including Try Transit Week (September 17-23).

But wait, that’s not all! We’ve brought back the Photo & Video contest too, now with more ways to play along using social media like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and G+. We’ll also have tables at events throughout the Triangle so be on the lookout.

Thanks for riding and good luck. Don’t forget to share this with your friends!

Challenge, Commit, Change

The SmartCommute Challenge wrapped up on June 1st, and with 8,630 participants saving over 1 million commuter miles, Triangle residents that took the challenge can be proud to say they contributed to something wonderful.

Driving alone has high costs, both obvious and hidden. For the driver, there are the obvious costs of gas, auto maintenance and insurance, but also the hidden costs of stress and less exercise. For the community, there are the monetary costs of our roadway infrastructure, but also the costs of increased local air pollution, high CO2 emissions, and dependence on foreign oil.  For each one of us, driving alone every day can undermine our own quality of daily life. Added together, our driving habits threaten to decrease the Triangle’s quality of life. But there is a solution – Smart Commuting!

This year’s SmartCommute Challenge, coordinated by GoTriangle and SmartCommute@rtp, encouraged people to try a commute alternative —teleworking, carpooling, vanpooling, taking the bus, biking or walking— at least once between April 1 and June 1, 2011. The Challenge was open to employees and college students who live, work, or attend school in Durham, Orange, and Wake counties.  Participants were eligible to win prizes – this year, the SmartCommute Challenge is giving away over $10,000 in prizes! And once again, we made a big difference! When we followed up with participants after the Challenge ended, 96% reported following through on their pledges, and two-thirds of those were willing to continue SmartCommuting at least once a week! Thank you to all of the sponsors and participating employers who made the 2011 Challenge possible, and thanks to everyone who took the challenge this year!

Finally, here are some quick stats to show just how much of difference our SmartCommuters made.

  • Miles Saved: 1,132,054.8 – The equivalent of about 5 trips to the moon
  • Gallons of Gasoline Saved: 50,313.5 – Enough to fill 1,006 bathtubs
  • Pounds CO2 Saved: 1,006,271 – The weight of 335 female hippos
  • Pounds of nitrogen oxide air pollutants (NOX) saved: 2,768.6 – The average weight of 15 adult Americans
  • Pounds of volatile organic compounds (VOC) saved: 3,315.8 – The weight of 121 gold bars

Great job, Triangle!  We’ll be celebrating our success, recognizing our photo and video contest winners, and honoring some very special commuters at the Golden Modes on July 8thRSVP for the event here.

And remember, even though the SmartCommute Challenge is over, it’s never too late to try a smart commute.  RTP employees should visit www.SmartCommute.org for more information on ways to get started.

Try Two Wheels Instead of Four

May is National Bike month! There are events, celebrations and commuter activities throughout the Triangle in May, and especially during Bike-to-Work Week, May 16-20.  I certainly encourage people who’ve been putting off riding to work to take advantage of this month to really commit to trying it. There are a lot of great reasons to ride your bike to work: it’s an easy way to stay fit and healthy, it reduces stress, it’s one of the most environmentally-friendly forms of transportation, and it’s a great way to take the SmartCommute Challenge!

And if you’re still not sure about trying it, here are some quick tips that have been passed on to me from experienced cyclists on ways to make biking to work more feasible.

  • Keep at least one complete set of clothes at the office (including shoes).  That way, if you forget an essential item, you’ll know you’re covered… literally.
  • Keep a set of toiletries at the office, including soap, deodorant, towels, hair stuff, etc. so you don’t have to carry them back and forth each day.
  • Plan your route in advance.  If you’re unsure about a route, ask other cyclists if they can recommend one.  You can do this easily by joining the RTP Bike/Ped Listserv and just posting the question; many RTP cyclists are happy to offer suggestions.  GoTriangle also has several maps and guides that can help.
  • Check the weather each night so you know how to dress and if weather conditions might prevent you from riding safely.
  • Pack the night before so you’ll reduce stress in the morning. You’re also less likely to forget something if you aren’t rushing.
  • If your commuting distance is a little too far, consider a bus-bike combination. It’s easy with the region’s Bike on Buses program.
  • And don’t forget about the free Emergency Ride Home program in case a guaranteed ride (in a car) is needed because of unscheduled overtime, sickness, or family emergency.
  • Be sure to know the rules of the road so you can stay safe and enjoy two-wheeled transportation, regardless of where you’re going.

And if you have other tips of your own you’d like to share, please feel free to post them in the comments below. Visit GoTriangle for more cyclist resources.

Finally, don’t forget, SmartCommute@rtp will be hosting three events during Bike to Work Week for RTP employees and cyclists:

  • Tuesday, May 17, 5 – 7pm, BTWW After Hours Event, Serena, 5311 South Miami Blvd., Suite A, Cyclists enjoy free appetizers and drinks.
  • Wednesday, May 18, 7pm, Annual Ride of Silence sponsored by M.S. Fits (www.rideofsilence.org), Starting at RTP Headquarters, 12 Davis Dr.
  • Friday, May 20, 7 – 9am, BTWW Breakfast, RTP Headquarters, 12 Davis Dr., Cyclists enjoy a free continental breakfast, juice, water and coffee.

The SmartCommute Challenge in 30 Seconds

Now that May has arrived, we’ve officially passed the half-way mark for the SmartCommute Challenge.  There’s just under a month left for people to take the challenge, and even more importantly, to complete what they’ve pledged to do.

“What is the SmartCommute Challenge?” you ask.  Find out in just 30 seconds by watching the video below.  Then be sure to sign up today!

So far, 4,575 people have pledged to try a smarter commute just once before June 1, which will save 6,628 gallons of gasoline.  With a goal of 12,500 pledges, there is still a long way to go.  Be sure to sign up and complete the challenge – and win some great prizes.

Work In Your Pajamas

Imagine a work day with few interruptions, no pesky colleagues popping into your workspace, not having to listen to your coworker’s loud phone conversations, and being allowed to work in your pajamas.  Sound great to you?  That’s what teleworking is all about.

Technology makes working from home easy!

And, it’s one of the many ways that you can take the SmartCommute Challenge.  Teleworking is one of the most desirable alternative commute options in the Triangle. Telework refers to work that is done from a location other than the usual place of business, for example at home, at a satellite office or at a telework center. The broadest definition of the word used today is when an employee uses telecommunications and computer technology to give them the freedom to work at any time from any location. Employees can telework part-time, full-time or just occasionally.

According to Wikipedia, “For individuals, telecommuting, or more specifically, work from home arrangements, improves work-life balance, reduces their carbon footprint and fuel usage, frees up the equivalent of 15 to 25 workdays a year—time they would have otherwise spent commuting, and saves between $4,000 and $21,000 per year in travel and work-related costs (not including daycare). When gas prices average $3.00 per gallon, the average full-time employee who commutes 5 days per week spends $138.80 per month on gasoline. If 53% of white-collar employees could telework 2 days a week, they could collectively save 9.7 billion gallons of gas and $38.2 billion a year.

More and more, companies have begun to realize that telework and telecommuting is good business at least in part because it’s good for the environment, and because teleworking options improve work-life balance, productivity and morale, and reduces stress and costs. With the ubiquity of laptop computers, wireless internet and smart phones, teleworking has never been simpler.  Many RTP companies have official telework policies for their employees.  If your company doesn’t have a telework policy, talk with HR to get one put in place!

If you are a current teleworker or are just thinking about starting to telework, visit GoTriangle for more resources, and be sure the take the SmartCommute Challenge for your chance to win some great prizes!

Join the Pool Party – Carpooling and Vanpooling with the SmartCommute Challenge

We’re into the second full week of the SmartCommute Challenge and the opportunities for saving money, gas, and improving air quality abound.  Ridesharing is popular choice for people who take the pledge to try an alternative form of transportation other than driving alone.

Proud Carpoolers

The most common type of ridesharing is carpooling.  Carpooling is an easy to way to meet the SmartCommute Challenge head on.  And GoTriangle makes it even easier.  If you aren’t already aware of someone you can carpool with, join GoTriangle’s free online ride-matching service – sharetheridenc.org.  Then, just contact your matches to find your preferred carpool partners.  And remember, the more people that use the matching service, the more opportunities there are to carpool. Get more information on carpooling at www.SmartCommute.org.

The other ridesharing option is vanpooling.  Vanpooling is slightly different from carpooling in that vanpools consist of seven or more commuters who live and work near each other and who share approximately the same work hours.  Triangle Transit provides the van, pays for gas and insurance and arranges, oversees and pays for all maintenance.

Here’s how it works:

One of the benefits of vanpooling is the opportunity to catch up on sleep!

  • Meet others at a central location near your home.
  • Read, sleep, listen to music or talk on your way to work.
  • Get dropped off at your workplace or get preferred parking.
  • Leave at your scheduled time, without being stuck at the office.
  • Arrive at home safe and sound, well-rested and ready for your evening.

Get more information on vanpooling at www.SmartCommute.org.

And what happens if an emergency should arise?  Don’t worry!  If you carpool or vanpool (or any other SmartCommute for that matter), you simply need to sign up for the free Emergency Ride Home program so you can get a taxicab or a rental car ride home in case of an unexpected event.

Take the SmartCommute Challenge today if you haven’t already (and don’t forget about all the great prizes you could win if you do.)