Tuesday, September 27, 2011

National Recognition for Curb the Congestion

By Tom Pearce, Public Information Specialist

The Curb the Congestion program has taken thousands of trips off busy streets in Snohomish County. Now it has been recognized with a national award. The Association for Commuter Transportation (ACT) presented a second-place Marketing and Outreach: Partnership Award to Community Transit and Snohomish County for their innovative and highly successful Curb the Congestion program.

Curb the Congestion is a community-based approach to reducing traffic congestion on three specific corridors in Snohomish County – 164th Street between Lynnwood and Mill Creek, 128th Street between Everett and Mill Creek, and 20th Street SE between Everett and Lake Stevens. Through financial incentives and a lot of legwork, people who live, work and/or travel on those roads every day are making pledges to change their commuting habits.

The national honor recognized the success of the 2010 Curb the Congestion program. Through the end of last year, 361 people were signed up and participating in the program, removing an estimated 18,000 drive-alone car trips from these three crowded corridors. A follow-up survey reported that 90 percent of those who signed up for the initial three-month incentive vowed to continue to use an alternate commute method.

The program’s strategy has evolved in each of its three years. For 2011, Curb the Congestion offers a $50 monthly incentive to help participants pay for alternative transportation for the first three months they get out of their single-occupant vehicles and take the bus, bike, walk, carpool or vanpool instead. After three months, those who stay with the program are eligible to win a $150 monthly random drawing.

The program started when Snohomish County decided it could not afford to build more infrastructure on 164th Street to handle traffic. The county turned to Community Transit for a solution. The county funds the program through development mitigation feeds and federal grants, and Community Transit does the legwork, like holding community fairs, promoting the program to apartment complexes and businesses and administering the program’s incentives. The county’s original goal was to take 100 trips off the road each day.

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