May 16

Putting the “R” in PART: How Our Regional Planning Helps Improve the Triad

Posted on May 16, 2019 at 11:20 AM by Brooke Kochanski

Planning Graphic2-01
To most of our loyal riders and first-time travelers, PART is simply a convenient, affordable way to travel throughout the Piedmont Triad. But in addition to all the PART Express Routes, vanpool program and other commuter resources, we’re busy at work behind the scenes, too.

 

PART works alongside dozens of local, regional and state transportation groups to ensure that the Triad’s transportation needs are being met — as well as planning for future needs.

 

Since our inception in 1998, we’ve been studying things like congestion, economic growth and transit planning. We’ve spent just over 20 years finding ways to ease major regional concerns like the impacts of growth and development on mobility or how large-scale transit infrastructure can improve our daily lives.

 

One such initiative was the Piedmont Together project, which brought together 290 people across 13 different civic forums hosted across the region. Working together with experts and Triad citizens alike we created more than 200 ideas to improve transit throughout our region.

 

One of the biggest takeaways from that effort was the discovery that the number one challenge facing residents was the lack of transportation options. This routinely caused families and businesses economic hardship, whether that came from difficulty accessing jobs or recruiting viable employees.

 

The lack of mobility options fuels the focus of the regional modeling program and planning efforts. This four-part initiative combines regional travel and freight modeling, transit ridership estimation, socio-economic analysis, and cutting-edge planning tools.

 

Thanks to this multi-level program, our Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) are able to save approximately $100,000 each year due in large part to our coordination efforts. The regional modeling program is managed in conjunction with the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s (NCDOT) Planning Department and the Greensboro, Winston-Salem, High Point, and Burlington-Graham MPOs.

 

We also keep a sharp eye trained on specific transit planning needs in the Triad. For example, a 2016 bus advertising campaign allowed us to analyze and propose solutions for funding and purchasing bus stop amenities.

 

And our access to vital data from federal, state and local agencies such as the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. DOT and NCDOT allows us to dial into numbers big and small, giving us the information we need to make impactful decisions.

 

Through organizations like the Piedmont Transportation Professionals (PTP), we’re able to stay in touch with present and future leaders in the transportation sector. PTP facilitates training opportunities conducted within the Piedmont Triad for professional engineers and planners. Its diverse array of in-person forums provides continuing education, networking opportunities and resources, including the ability to earn AICP and PE credits.

 

But what does this all mean for our everyday PART riders? It means that we’re joining forces with some of the most forward-thinking transit professionals on a daily basis to improve the services and access to opportunity to people in the Triad.

 

From clean air quality initiatives to adding more PART Express routes to underserved areas, we’re working hard to improve transportation throughout the Piedmont Triad. We are working toward a cleaner, accessible and effective future, and the activities of our vast planning efforts are helping us get there together.

 

To learn more about our regional planning efforts, click here.


May 08

Celebrating Clean Air Month 2019

Posted on May 8, 2019 at 8:21 AM by Brooke Kochanski

Bike Graphic

23,259,000: That’s how many trips PART Express Buses and Vanpools have taken off the roads this year. All those millions of trips have helped prevent 58 tons of pollutants from entering our air and clogging our roadways (and lungs).

So why are we kicking off this post with a (sorry-not-sorry) humblebrag? Because May is Clean Air Month, and we’re proud of the contributions we’re making to improve air quality throughout the Piedmont Triad.

 

Each May, the American Lung Association helps raise awareness for air quality across the country by highlighting both the challenges we face and their many solutions. Time and time again, public transit is highlighted as one way to reduce the amount of congestion-related air pollutants.

 

The EPA reports that transportation accounted for 29% of all greenhouse gas emissions in 2017, which means that changes to our daily commuting habits can make a significant impact. Even more than industrial manufacturing and electricity production, transportation accounts for the biggest percentage of harmful emissions, primarily caused by the burning of fossil fuels.

 

But how important is improving air quality anyway? Here are some of the most common illnesses and conditions associated with polluted airways:

 

  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Increased asthma complications
  •  Certain strains of cancer
  • Added stress to our heart and lungs

 

In addition to the harmful effects pollutants can have on people, they are also harmful to our environment. For instance, fossil fuel consumption releases high levels of toxic gases like sulfur dioxide into the air, which combines with other gases and water to create harmful acid rain.

 

Those gases also contribute to the broader effects of climate change, combining with carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to trap harmful pollutants and increase global temperatures.

 

So how can you help improve air quality? Taking public transit — even just a few times per week — is a great place to start.

 

According to a study by our friends at DART (Delaware Authority for Regional Transit — no relation but we like their style), buses like our PART Express program “emit only 20% as much carbon monoxide per passenger mile as a single-occupant auto.”

 

That’s because, on average, most cars put close to 575 pounds of pollutants into the air each year. So every trip you take on public transit helps reduce that number, which can have a positive cumulative effect when more people follow your lead.

 

And if taking a PART Express bus doesn’t fit into your daily commute, we can help you create a shared Vanpool route with 7-15 of your co-workers. This program, part of our broad Commuter Resources initiative, allows for the sharing of one van for a low monthly fee that covers gas, insurance and maintenance. And as an added bonus, you’ll save money while you’re helping to lower daily emissions!

 

You can also find ways to share your daily commute with programs like Share the Ride NC. This free service matches you up with other commuters in the Triad either looking for people with similar commute routes. You can then either volunteer your car or join someone else, helping reduce the amount of congestion and emissions throughout the Triad.

 

So how will you celebrate Clean Air Month? Maybe you’ll take a PART Express bus the next time you want to travel from Winston-Salem to Greensboro. Or maybe you’ll start a conversation with your employer about launching a free Vanpool program. However you choose, we’d love to help out in any way we can.

 

Because together, we can improve not just our daily lives, but the life of our planet, too.

 

Be sure to participate in the Clean Air Challenge May 13th – 18th. All you have to do it take a pic of yourself taking a clean commute and upload to Facebook. Be sure to tag us! You could win a 31-Day Pass!

 

To learn more, visit the Clean Air Website or call 336-883-7278.

slider-01

 

 


Apr 30

PART Express Enhances Schedules During Business 40 Closure

Posted on April 30, 2019 at 2:25 PM by Brooke Kochanski

Biz40RouteEnhancements2On Monday, May 6th PART Express routes will be enhanced once again to provide even better service during the Business 40 Closure. Commuters traveling into Winston-Salem are encouraged to jump on board and save some money during the road closure. 

  • Route 6 Surry County Express will continue to provide high level service from Mount Airy, Pilot Mountain and King into Winston-Salem serving Downtown, Baptist and Forsyth Medical Centers. 
  • Route 17 Kernersville Express is being improved to provide better service from Greensboro and Kernersville into Downtown Winston-Salem, Baptist Medical Center and now adding Forsyth Medical Center. 
  • Route 28 West Forsyth Express serves Clemmons and Lewisville into Winston-Salem, Baptist and Forsyth Medical Centers. 

During the closure many businesses located in Winston-Salem have signed up for the XPass program allowing their employees to ride at 50% off the regular bus pass price. This means you could ride all month for only $40! Find out if you’re eligible at www.partnc.org/xpass.

Visit www.partnc.org/biz40 for more information.