Friday, April 1, 2011

Survey Shows Riders Like Carpools, Alternatives

SmartWay bus goes between Roanoke and Blacksburg.^

Sometimes you just have to try it and you’re hooked. That’s what quite a few people in Blacksburg are finding out about getting around in something other than their car.

A recent New River Valley Planning District Commission study confirms that given the choice, a lot of people will carpool or use other forms of transportation. Virginia Tech and RIDE Solutions has promoted alternative transportation opportunities to Tech’s employees throughout the region.

“The recent study shows that Tech commuters from around the region are embracing and engaging in workplace programs designed to enhance the availability of alternative transportation opportunities,” says to RIDE Solutions NRV Coordinator Christy Straight.

More than half of Tech’s participating employees had never tried other alternative transportation options before carpooling to campus, a press release tells us. Commuters took advantage of Virginia Tech’s Commuter Alternatives Program (CAP), which offers preferred parking for carpoolers and reduced-price parking passes and is supported by incentives like RIDE Solutions’ Guaranteed Ride Home service and its carpool matching program.

These incentives have persuaded employees from around the region to change the way they get to work. The study reveals that saving money on the parking permit was their number one reason for carpooling and saving money on gas was number two. Carpooling is an option for many rural commuters, while the Smartway and Blacksburg Transit offer bus options to walking or cycling.

“Our partnership with RIDE Solutions strengthens our existing Commuter Alternatives Program by increasing benefits to commuters, and highlights the fact that the daily commute, which contributes to parking congestion, increased carbon emissions, and the squeeze on our wallets, is a regional issue with some regional solutions,” says Debby Freed, Alternative Transportation Manager at Virginia Tech.

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