Duke Honored For Sustainable Commutes

GoTriangle highlights Duke's commitment to commuter benefits and incentives

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Brian Williams, left, Duke's transportation demand coordinator, talks alternative transportation during an event last year sponsored by Duke and Triangle Transit.

Duke will be recognized today with two Golden "Modes" at the eighth annual Triangle Commuter Awards sponsored by GoTriangle, a partnership of area public transportation agencies. 

During an awards ceremony Friday, July 8, in Raleigh, Duke will receive a commemorative plaque in the "Commuter Champion" category. The award is given to organizations that offer top-tier commuter benefits and/or facilities. The second award will go to Brian Williams, Duke's transportation demand coordinator, who will receive a plaque in the "Employee Transportation Coordinator Honors" category for work to improve sustainable options at Duke. 

Duke was nominated for the awards by GoTriangle, based on its efforts to grow its alternative transportation program in the past year.

"The Golden Modes ceremony is a great way to applaud those in the community that are committed to not only reducing their carbon footprint, but also supporting public transportation in the Triangle," said Lauren Parker, marketing coordinator for GoTriangle. "This is an important time because the more people who rally around sustainable transportation options, the better for the environment and the growth of these systems in the future."

Duke offers a range of sustainable commuting options, including car-sharing, vanpools, carpools and incentives like up to 24 free parking passes and shower use for employees who bike to work. The Bull City Connector is also among accomplishments in the past year. Since Duke and Durham launched the fare-free bus system in August 2010, the Connector has provided more than 250,000 passenger trips to locations across Duke and downtown Durham.

Brian Williams, Duke's transportation demand coordinator, said a few more enhanced sustainable transportation programs are in the works for around the start of the academic year.

"It's exciting to see that entities outside of Duke are seeing the progress we're making in providing people choices in transportation," Williams said. "We've had a lot of people join our programs in the last year because they save time and money, so hopefully this recognition encourages people to learn more about what we offer."

Duke sustainability director Tavey Capps said focusing on the commuting behaviors of students, faculty and staff is a key goal to help Duke in its Climate Action Plan to become carbon neutral by 2024. Of Duke's roughly 28,000 registered commuters, only about 5 percent use alternative transportation.

"Improving alternative transportation options for the Duke community has been a key focus for us," Capps said. "The recognition of these efforts will hopefully increase awareness and encourage individuals to consider new, more environmentally-friendly ways to travel to and around campus."