Brown University News Bureau

The Brown University News Bureau

1997-1998 index

Distributed March 23, 1998
Contact: Linda Mahdesian

Brown staffer will help start the ignition on Express Travel program

Kurt Teichert, coordinator of the Brown Is Green program, will be a featured speaker at a news conference to launch RIPTA's Express Travel program at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 24, on the steps of the Federal Building in downtown Providence. Gov. Lincoln Almond will proclaim the week of March 23 Commute-to-Work Week.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority's (RIPTA) new program, Express Travel: An Alternate Route to Work, will start its engine during a news conference at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 24, on the steps of the Federal Building across from Kennedy Plaza in downtown Providence. Gov. Lincoln Almond will be there to proclaim the week of March 23 Commute-to-Work Week.

Among the featured speakers will be Kurt Teichert, coordinator of Brown Is Green, the University's initiative to reduce the environmental impact of operations and to educate the Brown community about environmental issues. Other guests will include representatives of RIPTA, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Association, Lt. Gov. Bernard Jackvony and representatives from Brown University.

Teichert will talk about his five years as a car-pooler, Brown's commitment to the partnership with RIPTA's Express Travel program, and the environmental impact of ride sharing. "I'm an environmentalist, but my main motivation for ride sharing is that it saves me money and aggravation," said Teichert. "The big savings for me is that I don't need to buy and maintain another car. That in turn reduces emissions and environmental impacts."

"We're really encouraged to have someone like Kurt on board," said Lee Beliveau, director of marketing and communications for RIPTA. "We're hoping to get the involvement of people like Kurt in all of the companies. We want to have employee transportation coordinators on site, which is very important to the communications effort to employees."

Express Travel, financed by a $600,000 start-up grant from the Federal Highway Administration, is designed to encourage Rhode Islanders to use car pools, commuter vans or public transportation to get to and from work. The program offers computerized assistance to match riders to car pools, enhanced benefits for riding the bus and a Guaranteed-Ride-Home Promise should commuters miss their scheduled ride home. Express Travel aims to start 75 car pools by the year 2000 and increase the use of RIPTA buses among employees of the state's major corporations.

Teichert contacted RIPTA last summer to find out the status of its initiatives to encourage Rhode Islanders to explore commuting alternatives. At the same time, Brown was working on ways to match employees to car pools and reduce the demand for parking spaces on the East Side. Currently, the University and RIPTA are conducting focus groups with employees to explore their transportation needs and to examine commuting options. A recent survey conducted by Brown undergraduates showed that 40 percent of Brown's employees indicated an interest in car pooling.