80% of South Floridians drive to work alone, commuter challenge aims to change that

Encourages you to walk, bike or use public transit

BOCA RATON, Fla. - Through the month of May, agencies and businesses are teaming up in an effort to reduce traffic in South Florida.

The daily routine for William Pierre begins by boarding a Tri-Rail train in Pompano Beach.

“I’ve been doing it one and a half or two years,” Pierre said.

From the Boca Raton Tri-Rail station, Pierre catches a Palm Tran bus to Palm Beach State College. 

“There’s been more than a couple of times where I’ve studied for a test on the Tri-Rail,” he admitted.

On the flip side is David Morganstein. 

“I drive about 25,000 to 30,000 miles per year,” he said. Adding that during most of his time behind the wheel, he is the only person in the car. 

He'd rather reach for his car keys, than ride public transportation because he believes a car gives him the most flexibility.

“Logistically it's a lot more complex [to use the Tri-Rail],” he said.

South Florida Commuter Services wants to break that train of thought.

This month, the organization, which is part of the Florida Department of Transportation, introduced a website and partnered with the RideFlag app to launch the South Florida Commuter Challenge.

The organization said nearly 80% of commuters in South Florida are the only person in the car when they drive to work. With this program, FDOT wants drivers to try car-pooling, walking, biking, or using public transit.

Palm Beach County Commissioner Steven Abrams tried Tri-Rail seven years ago and hasn't looked back.

He said the more people who try it, the more will like it and the bigger difference it will make on the roads.

“Tri-Rail takes the equivalent of one lane of traffic off I-95 each and every day,” he pointed out. “But beyond that, it gets people to work and school who may not be able to afford a car.”

With the app and website, FDOT will log miles people travel using these alternative methods and tally how much carbon dioxide those changes keep out of the atmosphere.

The group hopes environmental and traffic benefits are enough to convince drivers to take the challenge and stick with it past the month of May. Click here to learn how you can participate in the challenge.

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