SmartCommute Challenge Winners: Where are they now?

Where are they now?

Hopefully, you’ve heard about the SmartCommute Challenge, an annual spring campaign coordinated by GoTriangle and SmartCommute@rtp. The goal of the campaign is to encourage Triangle commuters to try an alternative commute (not driving alone) to work or campus.  Everyone who takes a pledge is entered into a drawing for some awesome prizes.  We’ve decided to check in with prior winners to see if they can provide inspiration for other smart commuters. Today’s profile features Louise Flinn, a UNC Chapel Hill employee who won a Wii Fit after she pledged to take last year’s Challenge.

So how’d you hear about the challenge?
I heard about it on the radio, but thought I shouldn’t sign up because I was already taking the bus and walking to work. I saw some reps at UNC and they told me that I could take the pledge. I was in a hurry that day, so I signed up online later on.

What’s your average commute like?

When I won, I was living in Carrboro and I lived very close to a bus line and I took it most every day. I’d also walk to work if the weather was nice. I recently moved and the bus isn’t quite so convenient at my new address, so now I’m on the bus just twice a week. But I’m never in my car alone! I carpool whenever I don’t take the bus.

Why don’t you drive alone?

I HATE to drive. I hate it so much that I avoided getting my license until I was 20. On second thought, it’s not the driving that bothers me, it’s the parking.  Nothing stresses me out more than having to navigate a crowded parking lot.  I grew up in Orange County and went to school at UNC, but I really started driving when I moved to LA after college. As a new driver, navigating the traffic in LA was a baptism by fire. When I moved back to NC I was glad to get away from all that congestion and stress. The Chapel Hill bus is great and I’m just glad I can use it.

How’s it feel to be rewarded for being a smart commuter?
The Wii is great! I never win anything, so I was excited when I got the email. I really like the balance games on the Wii Fit. I also like to think that doing my Wii Fit exercises will help make up for the fact that I can’t walk to work anymore. 

Any advice for would-be smart commuters?

I work at UNC so parking is a pain.  It’s actually way easier and more convenient for me to take a bus or carpool.  If you’re not taking the bus or carpooling to UNC, you should definitely look into your options.  My commute would be 100% more stressful if I had to drive alone every day.  It’s also nice not to have to worry too much about gas prices!

Should you be featured here?  If you have a commute story to share or know someone who does, please let us know!  You can leave a note in the comments or send us an email at

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