Nearly 1,000 Pledge To Try New Commute

Duke students, faculty and staff took part in April's Green Devil Challenge

The Bull City Connector is just one way to get to and from Duke without a car.
The Bull City Connector is just one way to get to and from Duke without a car.

Duke community members helped cut Duke's carbon footprint in April by using alternative transportation to and from work as part of the Green Devil Challenge.Nearly 1,000  members of the Duke community participated in Duke's April Green Devil Challenge, which was to participate in the SmartCommute Challenge. The SmartCommute Challenge, coordinated by GoTriangle and SmartCommute@rtp, aims to  reduce traffic and improve air quality. During the SmartCommute Challenge, which ends June 1, Triangle area residents were encouraged to try an alternative commute by riding a bus, carpooling, vanpooling, biking, walking or riding an electric scooter.

"The SmartCommute Challenge is a great reminder that we have commute choices that will save money on fuel and permit fees," said Brian Williams, transportation demand coordinator for Duke. "Parking and Transportation offers incentives to make carpooling easy and taking the bus, walking or riding a bike means employees can get to Duke and won't be hunting for parking spaces or sitting in traffic."Nearly 7,000 area residents signed up for the SmartCommute Challenge, saving more than 10,000 gallons of gas during the two-month program, according to GoTriangle.As an incentive for taking the Green Devil Challenge, each Duke employee or student who made the pledge to use alternative transportation was entered into a raffle for sustainable prizes. Kelly Riggan, an information technology manager with Duke Health Technology Solutions, and Alicia Lease, a nurse with medical/surgical services at Duke North, were randomly selected from entrants to receive a prize bag that includes a Burt's Bees Honey Spa Set, a "Bleed Blue. Live Green." aluminum reusable water bottle and more.Riggan signed up for the SmartCommite Challenge because she's been carpooling with a co-worker from Roxboro  to their Hock Plaza  office for nearly a year. They share the cost of a parking permit and are able to save money on gas by splitting the bill. Riggan also occasionally telecommutes instead of driving to work."Not driving helps put money back in your pocket, so I think that's something that should open everyone's eyes to trying an alternative commute," Riggan said. "If you can find ways to eliminate costs and be a greener person, it's worth the time to investigate."Students, faculty and staff can currently sign up to take the May Green Devil Challenge, which asks Duke community members to be sustainable in their spring cleaning by recycling items and using "green" cleaning products. Employees and students can also donate property to Duke's Surplus Property Donation Program or the Duke Free Store.