Northwest Chambers Plan Legislative Forum on Transportation

by Christopher Wood, BizWest
December 20, 2016

BROOMFIELD – Commuting Solutions and the Northwest Chamber Alliance, a coalition of the Broomfield, Boulder and Longmont chambers, will host the 8th Legislative Breakfast from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m., Thursday, Jan. 5, at the Omni Interlocken Hotel in Broomfield.

The event will convene public and private stakeholders around the Northwest region’s transportation priorities during the 2017 legislative session.

“The 8th Legislative Breakfast will provide a collaborative environment for businesses, governments and transportation agencies to discuss the future of the Northwest region, especially as it relates to potential state legislation to prioritize transportation,” John Tayer, president and chief executive of the Boulder Chamber, said in a press release. “Businesses have a growing voice in transportation planning, as effective transportation leads to increased economic growth.”

The forum will include legislators such as House Majority Leader KC Becker; Sen. John Cooke, Senate Transportation Committee vice chair; and Rep. Diane Mitsch-Bush, House Transportation & Energy Committee chair. They will discuss the priorities most important to their regions.

Additionally, the U.S. 36 Mayors & Commissioners Coalition and Commuting Solutions will present their 2017 legislative policy agenda.

Gov. John Hickenlooper will deliver a breakfast keynote address, with regional business leaders and elected officials also making presentations.

The cost to attend is $75 for members of Commuting Solutions, the Broomfield Chamber, the Boulder Chamber and the Longmont Chamber and $90 for non-members. Registration can be completed through Jan. 4 here.

8th Legislative Breakfast Defines Transportation Priorities for the 2017 Session

December 16, 2016              FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Audrey DeBarros, Executive Director Commuting Solutions
Cell: 303-330-4939
audrey@commutingsolutions.org

8th Legislative Breakfast Defines Transportation Priorities for the 2017 Session
Commuting Solutions and the Northwest Chamber Alliance to host 8th Legislative Breakfast on January 5

LOUISVILLE, Colo.—Commuting Solutions and the Northwest Chamber Alliance (a coalition of the Broomfield, Boulder and Longmont Chambers) will host the 8th Legislative Breakfast on Thursday, January 5 from 7:30-9:30 a.m. at the Omni Interlocken Hotel. The purpose of this year’s event is to convene public and private stakeholders around the Northwest region’s transportation priorities during the 2017 legislative session.

The 8th Legislative Breakfast will provide a collaborative environment for businesses, governments and transportation agencies to discuss the future of the Northwest region, especially as it relates to potential state legislation to prioritize transportation. Businesses have a growing voice in transportation planning, as effective transportation leads to increased economic growth. John Tayer, President and CEO of the Boulder Chamber, explains, “Transportation is becoming a paramount issue for businesses, especially when it comes to recruiting and retaining employees. Businesses that are highly accessible become desirable employment hubs and ultimately increase a region’s population, economy and quality of life.”

Economic development is a focal point of this year’s breakfast, but the breakfast also provides a platform for the public and private sectors to convene on the region’s transportation priorities and focus on moving forward. Commuting Solutions Executive Director Audrey DeBarros says, “Over 16% of the Denver metro region’s population and employment is concentrated in Boulder County, Broomfield County and City of Westminster, which means the outcomes of transportation over the coming years will determine how our region’s economy, public health and population progress over the coming decades.”

Legislators such as House Majority Leader, KC Becker, Senator John Cooke (Senate Transportation Committee Vice Chair) and Representative Diane Mitsch-Bush (House Transportation & Energy Committee Chair) will discuss the priorities most important to their parties and regions, and the US 36 Mayors & Commissioners Coalition and Commuting Solutions will present their 2017 Legislative Policy Agenda. The breakfast will also feature a keynote address from Governor Hickenlooper and presentations by regional businesses leaders and elected officials.

The cost to attend is $75 for members of Commuting Solutions, the Broomfield Chamber, the Boulder Chamber and the Longmont Chamber and $90 for non-members. Registration can be completed through January 4 by visiting http://bit.ly/2eTlEBp.

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About Commuting Solutions:
Commuting Solutions is dedicated to delivering innovative transportation options that connect commuters to their workplaces, businesses to their employees, and residents to their communities. Through advocacy for infrastructure and transportation improvements, partnerships and education, we create progressive, flexible transportation solutions. Be part of the progress along US 36, visit commutingsolutions.org.

About the Northwest Chamber Alliance:
The Northwest Chamber Alliance was formed in 2016 as a coalition focused on regional issues that impact economic vitality and quality of life. It is currently comprised of the Boulder, Broomfield and Longmont Chambers, representing approximately 2,400 businesses made up of 100,000 employees. These businesses range from large international corporations to small businesses, startups, nonprofits and public institutions.

 

Commuting Solutions and the Northwest Chamber Alliance to Host 8th Legislative Breakfast

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 28, 2016

Contact: Audrey DeBarros, Executive Director Commuting Solutions
Tel: 303-330-4939
audrey@commutingsolutions.org

Commuting Solutions and the Northwest Chamber
Alliance to Host 8th Legislative Breakfast

LOUISVILLE, Colo— Business leaders and elected officials from the Northwest region will gather on Thursday, January 5 for the 8th Legislative Breakfast. The breakfast will be hosted by Commuting Solutions, in partnership with the Northwest Chamber Alliance, and will feature a keynote address from Governor Hickenlooper.

This year’s breakfast will focus on the future of transportation in the Northwest region and the transportation priorities for the 2017 legislative session, as will impacts of effective transportation on the region’s economic growth. Louisville Mayor Bob Muckle and Lori Frasier, Senior Vice President, Strategy and Performance Management at Key Equipment Finance, will join the breakfast as guest speakers, and Amelia Earhart of 9NEWS will be this year’s guest emcee.

The breakfast will be held at the Omni Interlocken Hotel on Thursday, January 5 from 7:30-9:30 a.m. The cost to attend is $75 for members of Commuting Solutions, the Broomfield Chamber of Commerce, the Boulder Chamber of Commerce and the Longmont Chamber of Commerce and $90 for non-members. Registration can be completed through January 4 by visiting http://bit.ly/2eTlEBp.

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About Commuting Solutions:
Commuting Solutions is dedicated to delivering innovative transportation options that connect commuters to their workplaces, businesses to their employees, and residents to their communities. Through advocacy for infrastructure and transportation improvements, partnerships and education, we create progressive, flexible transportation solutions. Be part of the progress along US 36, visit commutingsolutions.org.

About the Northwest Chamber Alliance:
The Northwest Chamber Alliance was formed in 2016 as a coalition focused on regional issues that impact economic vitality and quality of life. It is currently comprised of the Boulder, Broomfield and Longmont Chambers, representing approximately 2,400 businesses made up of 100,000 employees. These businesses range from large international corporations to small businesses, startups, nonprofits and public institutions.

Bridging Colorado’s Transportation Funding Gap

Did you know that Colorado’s state gas tax has not been raised in 25 years and that a crucial $100 million could be cut from the state’s 2017 transportation budget? While it may seem as though our state is flourishing, and it is in many areas, there are serious decreases in our state’s main transportation funding source (the gas tax) and our ability to comprehensively fund transportation.  With insolvency of the federally operated Highway Trust Fund projected for 2021, Colorado is not the only state looking to new funding sources as a way to maintain and expand transportation growth. (According to Colorado 2040 Statewide Transportation Plan,  the insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund will result in a $1B annual funding gap for the state over the next 25 years.)

Colorado’s population and vehicle miles traveled will nearly double by 2040, which means the strain on our transportation system and the need for expansion will also increase. Much of the state’s transportation funding comes from a gas tax, but more fuel-efficient vehicles, a reduction in driving and a 25-year-old gas tax are contributing to significant funding shortfalls. Looking ahead, it is imperative that state officials implement a long-term funding solution to secure our transportation future.

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In Utah, we see that a minute sales tax and recently adjusted gas tax make a significant contribution to a state’s annual transportation budget. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Utah has a comparable DOT budget ($1.3B to Colorado’s $1.4B), but has 2 million fewer residents and around 8,000 fewer miles of road to maintain. While Utah has achieved their own success, Colorado must look at creative funding mechanisms and the possibility of an increased gas tax to bridge our funding gap.

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In lieu of a permanent and sustainable funding source, Colorado has embraced public-private partnerships (P3s) to ensure that infrastructure is built, while recognizing that additional funding will be needed for future maintenance, transit, bicycling and congestion management. CDOT’s move to High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) 3 on Express Lanes is another way our transportation department is looking to generate revenue while maintaining clear roads for transit, carpools and individuals who choose to pay a toll. CDOT is also launching the Road Usage Charge Pilot Program, a pilot program that will assess charges based on vehicle miles traveled and could one day replace the gas tax. Along with an increased gas tax, new sources of revenue are needed to meet anticipated demands and address the state’s face-paced growth.

As part of Commuting Solutions’ ongoing commitment to enhance the economic vitality of the Northwest region, we will represent the private sector in our 2017 legislative agenda and provide opportunities for the public and private sectors to engage with one another. Our 8th Legislative Breakfast will be held on Thursday, January 5 and will provide employers, governments and residents with an opportunity to engage with one another and set the tone for making regional progress in 2017.

Preserving the US 36 Bikeway for Today and the Future

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 25, 2016

Contact: Audrey DeBarros, Executive Director Commuting Solutions
Cell: 303-330-4939
audrey@commutingsolutions.org
commutingsolutions.org   

Preserving the US 36 Bikeway for Today and the Future
Two new projects maintain and improve the US 36 Bikeway

LOUISVILLE, Colo.— As part of an ongoing effort to improve and maintain the newly opened US 36 Bikeway, Commuting Solutions and US 36 local governments have teamed up to launch two programs focused on enhancing the US 36 Bikeway experience. The Unified Maintenance Agreement and the Northwest Corridor Wayfinding Design and Implementation Plan both take effect this month and are significant milestones for the US 36 Bikeway and the corridor’s ongoing efforts to support cycling as a viable travel option.

The six communities where the US 36 Bikeway connects (Boulder, Boulder County, Louisville, Superior, Broomfield and Westminster) and Commuting Solutions have a Unified Maintenance Agreement, a contract stating that the US 36 Bikeway will receive ongoing maintenance year-round. The agreement includes clearing debris, concrete repairs and snow removal, the latter being a key issue for those cycling along the bikeway during the winter months. Louisville Mayor Bob Muckle explains, “Ensuring cyclists are able to commute by bike between communities is a high priority for us. We are committed to providing a consistent level of service for cyclists, just as the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) maintains roads for vehicles.”

The second project beginning this month is the Northwest Corridor Wayfinding Design and Implementation Plan. The project is the first step in planning and designing wayfinding signs for the US 36 Bikeway and US 36 Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) stations. Once complete, mile markers will be placed along the US 36 Bikeway and wayfinding signs will be installed within communities to direct commuters to the US 36 BRT stations. Commuting Solutions Executive Director Audrey DeBarros says, “Small improvements such as the addition of wayfinding signs create transportation options that are easy to access and are a key component in making cycling and transit feel safe for all travelers.”

The 18-mile US 36 Bikeway stretches from Westminster to Boulder and was a fundamental piece of the multi-modal US 36 Express Lanes Project. Current daily ridership along the US 36 Bikeway is 267 in Boulder, 344 in Broomfield and 132 in Westminster. Projects that maintain and improve the US 36 Bikeway will be an integral component of growing ridership in the corridor over the coming years and decades.

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About Commuting Solutions:
Commuting Solutions is dedicated to delivering innovative transportation options that connect commuters to their workplaces, businesses to their employees, and residents to their communities. Through advocacy for infrastructure and transportation improvements, partnerships and education, we create progressive, flexible transportation solutions. Be part of the progress along US 36, visit commutingsolutions.org.

The Movement of People, Not Vehicles

When you look at moving 200 people by five different modes (here), you see that 133 vehicles with 1.5 riders simply cannot travel with the same efficiency as other modes. Moving as a Single Occupancy Vehicle (SOV) is increasingly becoming less and less efficient, yet persists as the norm in transportation. Even in cities where transportation budgets allow for massive widening projects, we’re seeing that adding more lanes actually creates more traffic congestion (see Houston’s Katy Project here and more on induced demand here).

hov-3Contemporary transportation policies, such as the move from High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) 2 to HOV 3, are curbing the number of vehicles on the road by focusing on the movement of people and maximizing use of existing infrastructure. By implementing these policies, transportation demand is improved in the short-term and so is how a region will accommodate travel demand over the coming decades.

CDOT’s decision to move from HOV 2 to HOV 3 (effective January 1, 2017) is a smart change, but that does not mean it is met with wide public approval. It is a divisive move and one that leaves many who travel the corridor wondering what the fallout will be.

Those who currently travel in the US 36 Express Lanes in a carpool with three or more riders or on transit will most likely not be impacted by these changes, but others will. Carpools with two riders will need to find a third buddy to continue riding in the Express Lanes for free, while those who drive solo and in the general purpose lanes will be the most impacted by these changes (there will likely be influx of vehicles moving away from the Express Lanes, thus causing more congestion in the general purpose lanes).

As your local resource, Commuting Solutions is here to help you make a smooth transition into HOV 3. Through the end of January, we are offering US 36 commuters a $75 incentive to car/vanpool or a free RTD 10-ride ticket book to try the Flatiron Flyer. If you’re still not sure if these options are a good fit, try signing up for mywaytogo.org to see if there is a carpool match waiting for you or find your transit route with this trip planner.

Sharing a ride, taking transit, teleworking and biking to work (or even to a transit stop) are all great ways to make an impact on how our region moves people, not vehicles. We encourage you to just try one new commute for one day to see how it goes.

Colorado’s ability to maintain, let alone expand multi-modal infrastructure to meet the burgeoning population is a major issue for our state, regional and local government officials, as well as for the private sector.  Stay tuned for next month’s blog post on Colorado’s current budget constraints and how creative funding mechanisms, such as toll revenue, are needed to help to fill the gap.

Association for Commuter Transportation Honors 40 Under 40 National Leaders

40-under-40

BOSTON (October 12, 2016) – The Association for Commuter Transportation today released its 2016 list of 40 under 40 leaders in the transportation demand management industry, recognizing a diverse group of individuals who range from digital start-ups and big name companies, who make transit options more accessible, to city and regional transportation officials most effectively increasing the use of commuter benefits and rideshare across the country.

“This group represents a cross section of our industry and how TDM is integrated throughout the public and private sectors. These forty individuals are shining stars for the TDM profession and we look forward to them leading TDM for many years to come,” said ACT President Rob Henry.

Google TDM program manager Lucy Tice, a graduate of the ACT Leadership Academy, and member of ACT’s Board earned a place on the list for her efforts at Google to help people start and commit to bike commuting and other options. Google’s first Bike to Work Month challenge featured over 870 participants and over 15,000 bike trips logged. She has also increased carpooling by 48 percent.

“ACT has been an important part of my professional development and career, and I look forward to continued participation in ACT and greatly appreciate this honor,” said Tice, who also served on the marketing committee to promote collaboration at the 2016 ACT International Conference.

Ryan Croft, co-founder and COO at Washington, D.C.-based TransitScreen, which creates real-time displays of transit options, was honored for the empowering technology TransitScreen has installed at workplaces and universities across the globe. The U.S. State Department recently named Croft to its working group on smart cities. “ACT and it’s members are at the cutting edge of improving city life for residents and large employers. It’s an honor to join so many innovative transportation professionals on this list trying to make cities better places to live and work,” Croft said.

ACT announced the awards on the closing day of their inaugural Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Forum in Boston, which brought together over 140 transportation professionals.

“The energy and passion these honorees show everyday for improving our cities is at the heart of our collaborative efforts,” said ACT Executive Director David Straus. “The work these individuals have done to inspire changes in their communities and beyond is having an incredible impact to make our cities more livable, more economically competitive, and more prepared for sustainable growth into the future.”

Facts on the 40 Under 40 Honorees:

  • Average length of service at current organization: 5 years
    • 15% have 10+ years at current organization
    • 35% have 6+ years at current organization
  • Average length of service to TDM industry: 7 years
    • 25% have 10+ years or more in TDM
    • 50% have 7+ years in the TDM industry
    • 83% have 5+ years in the TDM industry

Longest serving their organization: 14 years, Erin Burke, Associate Marketing Manager, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission
Burke manages the region’s commuter benefit program, RideECO, helping more than 500+ employers, and their 15,000+ employees, enroll in commuter benefits. She is the in-house expert at Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission on everything transit benefit-related, and staff rely on her to keep up with related news and legislation. Aside from prior regional recognition as part of Greater Valley Forge Transportation Management Association’s inaugural top TDM professional awards, Burke has also volunteered on her borough’s policy committee, providing input on the town’s comprehensive plan.

Longest serving TDM industry: 20 years, John Andoh, Program Manager, Bus Contracts, Capital Metro (Austin, Texas)
Andoh has been instrumental in his career in the implementation of vanpool and other transportation demand management programs from California to Texas. He has received more than six national and regional awards in the last 11 years for transit improvement, outstanding public transit operation, financial excellence, and transportation innovation.

Youngest honoree: Tony Perez, Sustainability Program Strategist, Salt River Project
On top of running 28 vanpools, SRP’s bikeshare and public transit programs, Perez has supported and developed rideshare programs that have earned three Clean Air Campaign Awards for Salt River Project and earned SRP a bronze designation for being a bicycle-friendly business. Perez is also president of the Valley of the Sun Chapter for ACT and serves as the Valley of the Sun Chapter representative to the ACT National Board. In his core job, Tony supports SRP’s vanpool program with 28 operating vanpools, corporate bikeshare, and public transit program.

About ACT:
The Association for Commuter Transportation, (ACT), is an international trade association and leading advocate for commuter transportation and TDM. Commuting by bus, train, rideshare, bike, walking, or telework improves our world by contributing to energy independence, better air quality, sustainability, urban mobility, and reduced congestion. Through advocacy, education, and networking efforts, ACT strives to improve the lives of commuters, the livability of communities, and the economic competitiveness of businesses.

Keeping Regional Businesses and Governments in the Transportation Know

October 4, 2016

Keeping Regional Businesses and Governments in the Transportation Know
Commuting Solutions to host bi-monthly membership meeting on Tuesday, October 11

LOUISVILLE, Colo.—Commuting Solutions Membership Meetings provide a collaborative environment for regional businesses, governments and agencies to discuss and plan the future of the US 36 corridor.  Each meeting is dedicated to informing members on the latest transportation and economic development plans, and focuses on gaining their insight into key issues. These meetings assist in shaping Commuting Solutions’ advocacy efforts and help keep the Northwest region an attractive place to live and work.

Commuting Solutions is thrilled to announce that Superior Mayor Clint Folsom will speak at the upcoming meeting on behalf of the US 36 Mayors and Commissioners Coalition. If you’re interested in attending this meeting, contact info@commutingsolutions.org.

The meeting agenda includes:

US 36 Mayors & Commissioners Coalition Update – Mayor Clint Folsom, Town of Superior
An update on the political and public policy coalition building efforts underway for the Northwest region.

RoadX: Intelligent Mobility Xcelerator – Peter Kozinski, CDOT RoadX Program Director
RoadX is Colorado’s bold commitment to our customers to be a national leader in using innovative technology to improve our transportation system.

RTD’s Strategic Budget and Financial Plan – Heather Copp, RTD Chief Financial Officer
This segment will provide an update on RTD’s strategic budget and financial plan and the impacts to the Northwest region.

Transit Oriented Development Planning: Longmont 1st and Main Street Station – David Starnes, Longmont Redevelopment & Revitalization Manager
Longmont is investing in their community through the addition of a new transit facility. The City is currently exploring land use and transportation plans to maximize local investments. 

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Friends of the US 36 Bikeway Hosts a Series of Fall Rides for US 36 Communities

LOUISVILLE, Colo.—Friends of the US 36 Bikeway, a new cycling program launched by Commuting Solutions, will host a series of rides for US 36 communities this fall. Rides will take place in each US 36 community and will focus on introducing cyclists of all abilities and ages to the new 18-mile US 36 Bikeway, which opened in full on March 1 of this year.

With these rides, Friends of the US 36 Bikeway hopes to further their mission of inspiring a cycling culture in the US 36 corridor and increasing the number of cyclists who use the new bike path. Commuting Solutions Executive Director Audrey DeBarros says, “The upcoming rides are one simple step we are taking to raise awareness about the US 36 Bikeway and to encourage US 36 residents to be champions for cycling.”

The upcoming rides will be led by volunteers who are engrained in their communities and are passionate about sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm for cycling with others. Businesses and even governments have come forward to help lead rides for their communities. Broomfield City Council Member Stan Jezierski says, “The US 36 Bikeway provides an easy and safe way to bike from Broomfield to all US 36 communities, and Broomfield City Council Member Sharon Tessier and I are thrilled to be able to lead our residents on a ride along this amazing bicycling highway.”

Rides are currently scheduled to take place in:

  • Broomfield on Saturday, September 3 at 9 a.m.
  • Louisville/Superior on Saturday, September 10 at 8:30 a.m.
  • Louisville/Lafayette on Monday, September 12 at 6 p.m.
  • Boulder on Saturday, September 17 at 9 a.m.

*A date for the Westminster ride will be announced in September

Route details and information on the Friends of the US 36 Bikeway program can be found at commutingsolutions.org.

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A Vantastic Way to Reduce Traffic Congestion

August 24, 2016

A Vantastic Way to Reduce Traffic Congestion
Thanks to US 36 Express Lanes Project funding, Commuting Solutions adds eight new vanpools to US 36

LOUISVILLE, Colo.—A two-year social marketing campaign developed by Commuting Solutions and funded by the US 36 Express Lanes Project resulted in the formation of eight new US 36 vanpools and incentivized 48 solo drivers to start or join a vanpool. To date, the US 36 Congestion Mitigation Program’s 48 participating vanpoolers have reduced 6,717 trips and 161,212 vehicle miles traveled (VMT).

Aside from transit, vanpooling is one of the most efficient uses of roadways and provides significant cost benefits for their riders. Commuting Solutions Executive Director Audrey DeBarros explains, “The cost to drive alone is generally 57 cents per mile, meaning a 30-mile round-trip commute costs $376 per month, per driver compared to an average cost of $75-$150 per month, per vanpooler.” DeBarros goes on to add, “Moving multiple commuters in one vehicle maximizes HOV travel lane usage and ultimately reduces traffic congestion for all who travel in our region.”

Vanpooling is also an exceptional fit for employees who work outside of regular business hours. From January through June 2016, Commuting Solutions ran an offshoot of the US 36 Congestion Mitigation Program to target those unable to commute on transit due to their work schedules and longer trip distances. During this time, employees of select Commuting Solutions’ members received a $150 per person incentive to start or join a vanpool. Through the program, the University of Colorado Boulder added two new vanpools, bringing their vanpool count to 10.

“Because I come to CU before buses are running, and commuting 30 miles by myself is expensive, vanpooling is a great option. The monthly vanpooling fee covers all of my costs, from maintenance, to gas, to emergency roadside assistance. With the subsidies from CU and the City of Boulder, each person in the vanpool pays just $50 per month to participate.  And with the additional Commuting Solutions’ incentive, our initial vanpool costs were significantly lessened,” explains Miriam B., a CU-Boulder staff member.

The US 36 Congestion Mitigation Program runs through December 2016 and offers a $75 incentive for US 36 commuters who are willing to convert from driving alone to vanpooling. To find out if you qualify for this incentive, and others, visit: commutingsolutions.org.

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About Commuting Solutions:
Commuting Solutions is dedicated to delivering innovative transportation options that connect commuters to their workplaces, businesses to their employees, and residents to their communities. Through advocacy for infrastructure and transportation improvements, partnerships and education, we create progressive, flexible transportation solutions. Be part of the progress along US 36, visit commutingsolutions.org.