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Ready, Set, Commute! Join The Route 120 Commuter Challenge

Mar 18, 2015 11:44PM ● By Kirsten Gehlbach
Upper Valley Rideshare challenges commuters from Exit 18 in Lebanon to downtown Hanover along Route 120 to sign up to find carpool partners or transit options. Employers in the Route 120 area recognize the traffic problems, the burden traffic places on employees, and the need for something to be done. Upper Valley Rideshare’s first goal is to involve employers (in the areas of Route 120, Heater Road, Centerra Park, Etna Road, Old Etna Road, Buck Road, downtown Hanover, and Hanover Street) in a campaign and promotion of shared commuting for their employees. The second goal challenges employees to form carpools, ride the bus, and use the new website to post their own commute information, find new carpool partners, and have fun with spring prize drawings.

“Ultimately, I’d like to achieve a 5 to 10 percent reduction in the number of commuter vehicles in every employer parking lot along Route 120,” says Susan Berry, manager of Upper Valley Rideshare. “We also offer an Emergency Ride Home reimbursement benefit to registered commuters who make the change to leave their car at home.”

What’s in it for commuters? Big savings! Leaving a car at home can result in approximately $3,000 to $6,000 in annual savings, depending on the length of the commute (source: AAA). The primary employers behind the project are the town of Hanover, the city of Lebanon, Hypertherm, DHMC, and Advance Transit. More are expected to sign on as the project rolls out.

The Route 120 Commuter Challenge began in November with a new website and promotional materials. In January, employer outreach started, and commuter outreach began in March. So far, the Challenge has had tremendous success with promotions, press, poster distributions, and online sign-ups. Promotion continues with outreach and information tables at employers’ locations and public events, such as the HomeLife Expo Show and local National Bike/Walk to Work events.

The new UV Commuter Portal has all the resources commuters want in one place. Located on the Upper Valley Rideshare website, the portal offers resource links on one page for Carpool Matching and Benefit Tools, Transit Schedules, Bike & Walk Trails, Park & Ride Location Finder, Transportation Experts, and Advocacy. The UV Commuter Portal can be accessed by smartphone, tablet, or computer.

This is an exciting grassroots project and I hope many commuters will enjoy participating to see the difference we can make in the traffic on Route 120, especially during the peak rush hours,” says Susan. “It’s 2015, and the way we get around has to be looked at. The road cannot be expanded infinitely, and the number of people using Route 120 to get to work or school will continue to grow.”

For people with regular commutes, commuting by carpool, bus, walking, or biking makes good sense, especially for those who don’t want to sit in ever-greater traffic jams.

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