Take the Commuter Challenge

Driving alone may seem like the most convenient way to get around Rochester, but traveling solo is not always the best – and certainly not the only – travel option.

Currently, about 40,000 people travel downtown for work each day, and local transportation studies show that around 75% of those employees drive to work. But with DMC expected to attract 30,000 additional jobs during the course of the initiative, planners have been looking at other modes of transportation to reduce traffic congestion and parking issues.

“What we learned time and time again from other cities across the nation is that transit is number one,” says DMC Economic Development Agency Executive Director Lisa Clarke. “It’s really critical to get it right on the front end.”

Short-term and long-term planning efforts to enhance Rochester’s transportation are underway. The week of November 13, the city of Rochester is promoting a fall Commuter Challenge to encourage workers and residents to explore different means of transit to get to work or around the community.

“We’re challenging the community to think about travel differently,” says Nick Lemmer, communications and outreach coordinator for the city of Rochester’s Parking and Transit Division. “Everyone in Rochester will benefit from fewer people driving alone, so we’re asking people to go online and complete a pledge [link] to try something new.”

Rochester offers many alternatives to solo commuting, from carpooling and a commuter bus to biking and walking.

Lemmer says commuter challenges are a common strategy among cities like Rochester who have more demand for parking than they have supply. “It’s a way to get people to try something different in the hope that they will continue to take advantage of these alternatives long-term,” he says. “Often, people find they like the alternative and it becomes part of their commute mix over time.”

Many of the regional commuter buses are equipped with Wi-Fi providing workers with extra time to get work done. Others use the time to simply relax without needing to focus on driving.

The city is encouraging participation by offering prizes to those who take the online pledge before midnight on Saturday, November 18. From a bicycle and a Fitbit to gift cards and bike tune-ups, trying new ways to get around town has never been more appealing.

Sign up for the Fall 2017 Commuter Challenge today and try a new way to travel!