Durham wins $1M grant to promote public transportation in downtown

DURHAM (WTVD) -- Transportation in downtown Durham is getting some extra attention thanks to a $1 million grant.

Durham is among cities like Philadelphia and Los Angeles to win the money, which will be used to get residents out of their car and using public transportation.

During a six-month period, Durham competed against 350 other cities to fix common problems in the Bloomberg Philanthropies U.S. Mayors Challenge.

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For Durham, the focus was on transportation and to reduce congestion, pollution, and parking issues.

Sixteen hundred downtown employees participated in a pilot program that encouraged them to stop driving their personal cars to work and start using alternative methods of transportation, like the bus or a bike.

"You want to be able to breathe clean air, and you want to be able to get to work in a reasonable amount of time without lots of frustration and something that reduces the number of cars is good," said Michael Bloomberg.

The pilot program used different strategies like creating personal routes for employees and creating a bus lottery.

The more someone rides the bus, the better chance they have of winning a prize.

Within five months, the program reduced the number of people driving their personal vehicles into downtown Durham by five percent.

And Bloomberg said the best part -- and the reason Durham won the grant -- is other cities can use the same strategies.

Durham will receive the million over a period of three years.

With that money, they'll be able to try new strategies and get more people looking into different ways of getting into downtown Durham.
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