Smarten Your Commute, Win Prizes

The SmartCommute Challenge returns Sept. 1

The SmartCommute Challenge starts Sept. 1.
The SmartCommute Challenge starts Sept. 1.

Tired of your daily commute? GoTriangle is here to help this fall.

The partnership of local and regional transportation organizations will launch its annual SmartCommute Challenge, which runs Sept. 1 to Oct. 15.

The goal of the program, which is also coordinated by SmartCommute@rtp, is to help reduce local traffic and improve air quality. Last year, SmartCommute participants saved 50,313 gallons of gas and cut 486 tons of carbon creation by using public transportation like a bus or riding a bike to and from work.

The aim is to get Triangle area residents to try an alternative commute by riding a bus, carpooling, vanpooling, teleworking, biking or walking. Duke offers various incentives for community members who use alternative transportation, including, among other perks, up to 24 free parking passes and the GoPass, a free bus pass for students and eligible employees.

"The number of Duke employees and students carpooling, taking the bus and biking has been going up each year," said Brian Williams, Duke's transportation demand management coordinator. "There are thousands who don't drive by themselves each day, and they'll tell you how they get to work is easier than driving."

As part of the Challenge, participants can show off their commuter style by submitting photos and videos.

Duke community members can sign up for the SmartCommuute Challenge beginning Sept. 1 on the program's website. In addition to helping the environment and saving money on gas, participants can also take part in weekly challenges to win prizes like a FitBit Ultra health tracker or Kindle Fire:

Pedal vs. Metal (September 10 to 16)Track your trips and see how many miles you can walk or bike on daily commutes and other trips instead of driving. The commuter with the most miles saved, wins.

Try Transit Week (September 17 to 23)The SmartCommute Challenge's spin on "I Spy," commuters are encouraged to find "GoSmart piggy banks" around the Triangle. The GoSmart piggy bank may be on a bus, at the Regional Transit Center, Durham Station, Moore Square, or online at a GoTriangle social network. Email the full list of piggy bank locations to for a chance to win. The person who finds the most pigs wins.

PARKing Week (September 24 to 30)Commuters are encouraged to show what they would do with a free parking space at work. Would you turn it into a park or a lemonade stand? Creativity is key. Upload photos using Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, or email them to The best parking space creation wins.

Battle of the Brains (October 1 to 15)Duke community members can compete against students and employees from other local colleges and universities to see which school can log the most miles using alternative transportation and achieve the greatest carbon reduction. The school that saves the most wins.