5 Findings From Going Carless – Week 1

It’s been a little over a week since I committed to going carless for the month of March.

So, obviously, I thought it best to put these discoveries in a super digestible list for you. 

1. I’m a total CHEAT

I’ve never considered myself a cheater but I am now. I might as well be Coach (John Candy) in Cool Runnings, putting weights in my sled to win Olympic gold.

That’s right. It’s only been a week and I’ve already cheated during my #CarlessMarch challenge. Looking back, I don’t even remember why. It was probably due to a donut emergency or something equally idiotic.

It’s made me realize that having access to a car is definitely a luxury and choosing to go without is a sacrifice. But more importantly, this points us towards one of the biggest challenges facing public transit: people value their own convenience far and above the greater impact of their actions. Some people may choose to take public transit because of its benefits, but the rest are going to have to be convinced by having well-planned transit and-let’s be honest-some good ol’ public shaming of driving cars solo.

2. Sometimes transit is going to fit my life, my life has to fit transit

I live about half a mile from the Downtown Durham YMCA but I’ve started going to the gym on the American Tobacco Campus since beginning this challenge. Why, you ask?

The Downtown Durham YMCA is about a half mile walk from my house so I’ve started going to the ATC YMCA before I transfer from my TTA bus to my DATA bus at Durham Station. Before you start thinking of me as some gym rat… I’m switching because if I walked to the gym and back my workout would basically be complete so there’d be no point.

So far, this has been the first life change that I’ve made in order to fit around my transit schedule.

3. Getting between cities is shockingly easy

The Regional Transit Center bathed in sunlight

So I may be a little biased when talking about Triangle Transit but even still… this particular bus system makes it super easy to get between cities in the Triangle. I live and work in Durham but a lot of things in my social life take me into downtown Raleigh. My trip isn’t much longer than driving there, I’m not wasting gas, & it’s incredibly convenient.

4. Owning a bike seems imperative

One thing I’ve realized is how some distances are too long or not safe to walk but don’t make sense to get on a bus to manage. It seems like having a bike to get around town is imperative if I want to keep a good schedule and be able to get places quickly and safely.

It’s easier for me to get to downtown Raleigh using public transit than it is to get to some places just a few miles from my house.

(If you’re curious why this is then you should check out Jarrett Walker’s blog, Human Transit. Jarrett is one of the consultants working on the Wake County Transit Strategy. His work is an awesome resource for understanding the planning side of public transit.)

5. I got mad respectHan Solo Salutes

For anyone who chooses to or is dependent upon public transit for all of their travel, you’ve got all my respect. Just a week into my #CarlessMarch challenge and there are things I’m already finding to be a struggle. It’s a total shift in how I plan my day and what commitments I feel I can make.


Do you include a bike in your alternative commuting? If not, how do you manage those medium length distances? 

What changes have you had to make since choosing to commit to public transportation?

Share your thoughts with me in the comments!


Transit Thursday: Improving Bike Saftey

Girl riding her bike in a bike lane

On Tuesday we talked about multimodal transportation and the importance of recognizing it as a an alternative to driving your car. It’s not a battle between public transit and personal vehicles. There are so many other pieces at play.

Cycling is one of those major pieces. In terms of multimodal transportation, cycling is one that often moves people over distances too far to walk or connects people to types of transit that can take them over longer distances. Another major benefit of biking is that it adds an element of health and exercise to travel that many other modes don’t.

All that being said, recognizing the importance of cycling as a piece of multimodal travel calls into attention the fact that we need to develop systems or improve the infrastructure supporting it.

Well, the DOT is finally starting to do just that. On a small scale, the DOT in places like Pittsburgh is pushing to develop more bike lanes and make cycling safer in an effort to decrease fatalities. Thankfully, this is being backed on a federal level. The DOT just released new bicycle safety information called “BIKESAFE“.

Read through BIKESAFE and see what additional things you can be doing to stay safe on the road.

Be sure to share with us any extra tips you might have as well!

Two Link Tuesday: Leaving the Car in the Garage

A group of cyclists riding down Hargett St. in Raleigh, NC.

Multimodal Travel

At GoTriangle we are all about the bus. Whether you’re cruising Downtown Raleigh on the R-Line or using Triangle Transit to stay connected between cities, we’re so excited to see people utilizing transit. That being said, we don’t talk often enough about the other pieces involved in public transportation.

We know that if you’re using transit you’re probably including other forms of transportation as well. City Lab recently put up an article describing how cities need to address the need and existence of multimodal transportation. This excerpt from the article gives a perfect example of what multimodal travel looks like on a daily basis.

“If you leave your house in the morning as a driver, you are almost
certainly going to make all subsequent trips for the day by car,
eventually driving back to your garage. With many choices, however,we
might leave home on foot to the coffee shop, then take transit to work,
then cycle to the store and lug our groceries home in a taxi. For this
example, one car has been replaced by four separate modes of travel,
all of which represent choosing a mode for each trip based on what
works best for each person.”

We’re aware that people travel this way and are taking note of what we can do to help. CityLab gave three great ideas to be aware of and consider when planning to make cities more multimodal friendly.

  • Move past the idea that public transit and car use are at odds with one another.
  • Public and private forms of transportation have to work together.
  • When planning, all modes of transportation have to be incorporated:walking, biking, driving, public transit, taxis, etc.
Guy working on his laptop at a coffee shop.

A Triangle Transit employee spending one of his telework days at a local coffee shop.


In addition to thinking about ways to make our travel more efficient and less costly (be it paying for gas or negatively impacting the environment) we want to think about ways to travel less.

One of the most popular ways to go about this is by teleworking. Whether you can work from home full time or just one day a week, it carries with it a huge impact. Employers are starting to see the benefits of offering teleworking days to their employees:

  • working hours aren’t eaten up by commuting
  • productivity rises when office distractions aren’t curbing focus
  • employees are generally happier and do better work
  • cars aren’t being driven
  • money isn’t being spent on travel resources
  • it promotes a healthier work-life balance

A great tool for anyone interested or already involved in any amount of teleworking is “Workshifting“. This online resource pulls in tips, tricks, articles, etc. all revolving around this increase in people working from home, out of coffee shops, or constantly on the go.

If you’re wondering if teleworking is for you (or if you’re already included in the portion of the workforce that’s doing it) check out this definition Workshifting uses to describe themselves as well as who their work relates to.

“If you work out of coffee shops, hotels, airports and your home every bit
as much as the office, workshifting.com is for you. We share resources on
remote working, telecommuting, travel, technology, business and virtual
offices to help you shift when, where and how you work!
We coined the term “workshifting” in March 2009 as an updated definition
for “telecommuting” and “remote working”, that refers to the ability of being
part of a distributed workforce, working from outside of the office and
shifting one’s work habits to achieve a better work-life balance.”

So whether you’re taking four different methods of travel or you’re staying at home in your pajamas, we hope you feel a little more encouraged and equipped to leave the car in the garage.

Is multimodal travel something you’re already doing? Do you work from home or a coffee shop? Share your stories with us!

Greenlights: October 2014 Issue

Multimodal Transportation in the Triangle


At GoTriangle, we love getting the opportunity to highlight employers and commuters who are taking that extra step to make smart commuting work for them.

Today we want to highlight David Bradway. He recently shared moments from a day full of multimodal transportation (utilizing multiple forms of transportation to piece together a system of getting around) and we couldn’t resist asking him to go into more detail on how he makes it work for his daily routine. From walking and biking to riding the bus and utilizing car sharing programs (like the Enterprise Car Share that Duke hosts for students and staff), David has got it mapped out.

David Bradway describes his travel, "I had a #multimodalmonday with @gotriangle Bull City Connector, Duke's Enterprise Car Share, and my trusty Schwinn. "

 A rider's photos of the different modes of transportation he uses to get around.

A big part of his motivation to not have a car and travel primarily on bike and bus came from a year he and his wife spent in Denmark. The country is renowned for being remarkably bike-friendly and, as David recalls, “the bicycling infrastructure was world class. The bike paths were lighted, separate from cars, regularly cleaned, and even plowed. Biking in Denmark was often the most convenient and reliable way to get around the city.”

Since returning, David has continued this type of commuting since the major benefits of a smart commuter lifestyle, better health and cost efficiency, are so worth it. For trips that are too long or when the weather is particularly bad, the Trans Loc app and Google Maps have been useful tools for David to make sure his plans for travel are as seamless as possible.

There’s always more we can do to make multimodal transportation better, from constantly work to make our bus routes more efficient to improving bike lanes. But most of all, it’s important to share stories such as David’s to shed light on how great it can be to foster these kinds habits in our communities.


Let’s also take a look at some Triangle Transit van riders.

Debra Smith says “I have been vanpooling since 2008.  I was in another vanpool but then I got my own.  Because it saves me a lot of money on gas, I am able to drive my car on the weekend.  When I was driving to work every day, the high gas prices caused me keep my car parked for almost everything except church on the weekend.  I had to consider if I had enough gas money for the week to travel from Oxford to Duke for work.  It was a great benefit to have Duke step in with the deposit for the van.  Our vanpool has been going strong for 3 years now. And it is growing; I think we will need a bigger van soon.  We are all so thankful to be able to save on gas and car expenses.  We switch drivers on different days so that everyone gets a chance to sit back and enjoy the ride.   It is a blessing.  I recommend it to anybody.  We start out in Oxford; make a stop in Creedmoor, then on to Durham.  We make several stops in Durham so that everyone gets out at their worksite.  I love it.  I would not give up my vanpool. I had to drive one day last week, and I missed it.  Now, I do not like driving into work, I’d rather ride the van!”



Here is what long time van rider Janet Langley, who is now retired from Wake County wrote in to say. “I have ridden and served as back-up driver on several of the TTA Vanpools that leave from the Harnett & Johnston County areas. I was one of the original riders from Coats, NC when the vanpools were first introduced.  That was more than 28 years ago.  At first I was hesitant because of not having my own vehicle available for emergencies, errands, etc.  I soon became hooked and dreaded those days when I did have to drive in to downtown Raleigh. It has been a terrific experience, and I encourage everyone to give it a try.

The service you have provided has been priceless to me personally.  As of March 1, 2014, I will be officially retired!  Had it not been for your vanpool program, I would have never been able to stay with State Government for 30 years.  I’ve met tons of great people and will miss them dearly.  I won’t miss that commute, but TTA has definitely been a God send to me and made it so much easier to get up and go to work every day.

Once again, THANK YOU.


Just as a reminder joining a van is as easy. Register on www.SharetheRideNC.com and choose vanpool as one of the options to find a match. If you do not see a match, start a waiting list. It only takes 5 passengers to start a new vanpool. And as always, you can call or email Vanessa Battle our Vanpool Manager at vbattle@triangletransit.org or 919 485-7462. She will walk you right through the process. We are always looking for drivers. Driving a vanpool comes with some perks. Call Vanessa for details.




While you are there, register for the Emergency Ride Home program. It is a guaranteed ride home from work in case of an emergency on days that you carpool, vanpool, bike, walk or ride the bus to the office. It is great that most of those registered in our database have not had to use the program; but here is what a couple of people who needed it had to say:

“I was glad this service was available. It was a great help when I really needed it!” – Nancy H.

“This is an excellent service.  I’ve commuted from Wendell by bus since the ZWX service started several years ago.  I had never had to use the emergency ride home before last month but was glad to have it when I needed it.  Thank you.”  – Michael B.



Cycling Fun for All Ages: LEGOs and Legs Go

LEGO my Car?

The second annual BrickMagic LEGO Festival, being held at the Hilton North Raleigh/Midtown on this weekend, May 7-8. The Guest of Honor this year is professional LEGO builder Sean Kenney, who’s a big supporter and advocate for transportation alternatives—he doesn’t own a car, and he rides a bike to work every day in New York City.

As part of his goal of reducing traffic and making streets much safer and more enjoyable for everyone, at BrickMagic he’ll be letting fans of all ages use LEGO bricks to build the gnarliest, worst, clogged up traffic jam in the world, while he adds a FULL-SIZE BICYCLE towering over it, made entirely of LEGO bricks.

You can find out more about Sean and his bicycle build at:  http://www.brickmagic.org/view/info/honor/.

High School Cyclists Riding through History

A group of high school students will be commemorating the sesquecentennial of the Civil War by retracing where some of their ancestors were during the years of the Civil War and slavery. The trip combines history, healthy exercise, comraderie, and mental and physical conditioning.

The students call themselves SpokeNRevolutions, and they are a nonprofit group under the umbrella of the reCYCLEry NC. The students describe themselves as “thoughtful, smart high-school students who enjoy physical challenges, but don’t often find themselves on competitive teams, such as football, basketball and soccer”, have been training hard. Visit their website and you will be impressed.

Here is a recent article about the students that appeared in the Daily Tar Heel.

Are You Up for the Challenge?

Can you handle it – a day without driving alone? Don’t be scared! Take the Challenge – the SmartCommute Challenge.

Every Spring, we here at GoTriangle with the help of our friends and family of services, put on the annual SmartCommute Challenge. From April 1 to June 1, we encourage Triangle commuters to try an alternative commute (not driving alone) to work or campus such as:

  • riding the bus
  • carpooling
  • vanpooling
  • teleworking or compressed workweek
  • biking or walking

So who can take the challenge? Everyone! Weeellll as long as you live or work in Durham, Orange, or Wake counties. But still according to the 2010 Census, that’s a lot of people!

How do you take the Challenge? Starting April 1st you can sign up online or you can come to our kick-off and sign up. The kick-off will be tons of fun. You’ll learn what your new commute options are, we’ll help you plan your trips, you can get your bike checked by REI, and you can pick up some cool free stuff. Free? Who doesn’t like free stuff?! Just let us know you’re coming and RSVP, please.

Why would I take the Challenge? For a few reasons – to cut down on traffic on 40, 85, 70, the Beltline, 540, and if you’re leaving UNC, 54 is a BEAST starting at 4:30. Also, have you seen the gas prices lately?? I don’t know about you but I’m looking for any way to not have to pay $60 every week to fill up. Even just a couple of days not driving saves some money. Those reasons, along with the benefits to your health, improvements to the air quality in the Triangle and the fact that it’s good for the environment, is enough to try it at least once! Oh yeah, did I forget to mention there’s a chance to win cash and other prizes. Yeah, that’s a bonus.

So come on out to the kick-off, take the Challenge and Breathe Easy!

Signing off,