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RTP Companies Launch Campaign to Ease Commuter Traffic

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RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK — Research Triangle Park is known worldwide for scientific innovation and cutting edge technology. Now companies that make up the park are working to help ease the Triangle's traffic problems.

Roads leading to the park, like Interstate 40, are a daily commuter nightmare. That is why some of the nation's smartest companies are about to launch a "smart commute" campaign.

"The RTP companies will have a really strong and connected effort. We hope that all employers throughout the region can see what the RTP has done and can look to follow suit as well," says Jim Ritchey of theTriangle Transit Authority.

Companies likeIBM,Nortel, andGlaxohave all agreed to appoint traffic coordinators. The coordinators will supervise car pools, van pools, and telecommuting programs.

Some companies are even ready to offer incentives, like providing bus passes, to employees.

Organizers think mass transit is one solution to the massive gridlock problem.

Bus ridership in the Triangle is low, but every little bit helps. Triangle Transit Authority buses carry an average of 1,200 riders per rush hour. That is the same number of cars that pass by one spot on one lane of I-40 during a peak hour.

"If half the people formed car pools, we wouldn't have these traffic jams. Of course, we don't expect that to occur. We'd like to see 10 percent, 10 percent will make a huge difference," says Ritchey.

RTP companies banding together to get more cars off the road will not solve all the problems, but CEOs in the park say if something is not done to help the traffic problems now, the future is in doubt.

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Mark Roberts, Reporter
Chad Whisnant, Photographer
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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