Welcome to the December issue of GreenLights!
GreenLights is your newsletter highlighting the outstanding employers and commuters across the Triangle. We’re happy to present two new encouraging examples of smart commuting and how a company can stand behind a strong commuter benefits program.
Please let us know if you are interested in being featured. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Company Greenlight: Tipping our hat to Red Hat
After forming in 1993, Red Hat quickly became the world’s leading provider of open source solutions using a community-powered approach to provide reliable and high-performing cloud, virtualization, storage, Linux®, and middleware technologies.Twenty years later Red Hat moved its headquarters bringing approximately 400 employees into the heart downtown Raleigh.
Being dedicated to communities and the environment, Red Hat is proud to be a responsible member of our global community by building sustainable facilities, reducing our CO2 emissions, energy consumption, landfill waste, and water consumption.
As part of their dedication to the environment, Red Hat contacted the City of Raleigh looking for information on the “Go” Programs offered in the triangle. The City of Raleigh met with staff to discuss opportunities for Red Hat employees to try alternative modes of transportation.
In July, Red Hat set up an Alternative Transportation Lunch and Learn for Red Hat employees, but the session filled up so quickly another session was added a week later; 60+ employees attended. The following week Red Hat set up another opportunity for their employees, since new to downtown Raleigh, to ride the RLine and discover where it traveled and how easy it was to hop on the free downtown Raleigh circulator. Another successful event led to approximately 45+ employees riding the RLine on three different trips.
Prior to Try Transit Week, the City of Raleigh set up a table in Red Hat’s cafeteria area and promoted Try Transit Events, as well as other modes of transportation. City of Raleigh staff gave out 30 squishy buses to Red Hat employees with a sticker on it “Try Me!”
Because of their commitment to the environment and their employees, Red Hat has made a difference in their employee’s commute options. They have set up a secure, sheltered bike storage facility for the employees, as well as looking into installing a do-it-yourself bike repair center, showers and changing area, on-site cafeteria, and a participant in the Emergency Ride Home program. These are just a few of the great benefits offered to Red Hat employees.
Ending this story without mentioning Red Hat’s Employee Transportation Coordinator, Rachel Anderson, wouldn’t be justified. She has been a pleasure to work with and seeing how Red Hat employees respect her while on their campus is a true inspiration.
Submitted by: Kathy Moline, City of Raleigh TDM
Commuter Greenlight: Our Transit Champion Spreads the Word.
Christa Wagner Vinson regularly drives in to the office, but only because the trip is very short. This short driving trip is not something she takes lightly. Christa works at Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster, a group of global innovators in the Triangle region working to promote smart grid, smart transportation and smart water technologies.
Ever the ardent transit rider, she said it was weird not riding the bus. “Transit was such a huge part of my lifestyle that when I started my new job I was lucky enough to have a family situation that allowed me to move close to work. For me, it‘s live really close of take transit. Those are the options.” She moved to a mixed use, walking community only five minutes from her office. But she remains a strong advocate for transit. “I’d say fierce advocate is more accurate,” she said.
Christa has been a Triangle Transit commuter for most of her professional career, first traveling to Raleigh for work from her home in Durham, then from Durham to Chapel Hill for graduate school, and then again from Raleigh to Durham for a new job after school. Christa is such a die-hard transit fan. She has even become an evangelist. She encouraged a work colleague to use the Triangle Transit vanpool to commute from Greensboro to Raleigh and helped another colleague navigate the commute using park and ride to travel from south Durham to Raleigh. And, if there’s a meeting, she’s reminding co-workers to carpool.
People are including transit in their daily lives as more than transportation, but to add to their quality of life. Just that short walk to the bus stop and back every day adds up. A study on passengers in Charlotte, North Carolina showed that on average, light rail riders weighed about six and a half pounds less than driving commuters.
Just because Christa does not use transit to commute every day, she hasn’t stopped telling people to give transit a try. If you enjoy your green commute, tell someone about it. Encourage your friends and co-workers to try the bus, vanpool, carpool, bike and walk. If you are thinking about trying a new commute and need some help, go to our website www.gotriangle.org or call into 919-485-7433 for assistance.