TravelSmart 2010 gears up

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Commuters, delivery drivers and residents working and living in downtown Vancouver have been asked by VANOC, the organising committee for the forthcoming Winter Olympics: "Are we ready to travel successfully during the 2010 Winter Games and manage road closures, significantly reduced on–street public parking and tens of thousands more people in the city?"

To prepare for a successful experience from 12 February to 1 March, drivers who frequently travel in downtown Vancouver are being encouraged to start practising their Games–time travel plans and be a part of the weekly TravelSmart 2010 Challenge. The challenge, which will promote incremental reductions in vehicle traffic as phased–in road closures go into place, started on Friday, 8 January will run every Friday for the following five weeks in the city leading up to the Opening Ceremony on 12 February 2010. The first week's vehicle traffic reduction goal was 5% with the overall vehicle traffic reduction goal being at least a 30% reduction by 12 February and throughout the Games. The weekly challenge is simple: Drivers need to think now about how they travel and read up on their options at www. travelsmart2010. ca on what changes they can make to reduce traffic congestion. Perhaps this means taking public transit or cycling to the office. It could also mean changing work hours or teleworking to avoid the Games–time peak travel times into downtown Vancouver of 7:00 am to 9:00 am and 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm. "The world's eyes will be on us, visitors, athletes and officials will be here in our city ― many for the first time ― and we all need to do our part to make the transportation plan one of the great success stories and one of their great memories of these Games, " said John Furlong, CEO of VANOC. "The TravelSmart 2010 Challenge is a great chance for people to prepare themselves and test their travel plans for moving in and out and all around the city during Games time. We're asking everyone to look at thier travel options, try them out ahead of time, and make adjustments if necessary, " added Terry Wright, executive vice president, services and Games operations, on behalf of the Olympic and Paralympic Transportation Team (OPTT). "It's a matter of everyone getting involved and knowing before you go ― it's the best way to avoid surprises at Games time when on–street public parking will be virtually non–existent in the downtown core and the city's population will swell by tens of thousands of people every day. " To measure the success of the challenge in reducing vehicle traffic on an incremental basis, the City of Vancouver will conduct data monitoring on behalf of the OPTT each Friday and report on the vehicle traffic reduction results publicly the following week. For the most up–to–date transportation information available now and during the Games, visit www. travelsmart2010. ca. The website portal directs users to the appropriate OPTT member website for theinformation they are seeking, such as the City of Vancouver, Resort Municipality of Whistler, TransLink, BC Transit, or VANOC.

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