RALEIGH – A new ridesharing service popular with citizens in one eastern North Carolina community is now being honored by a national transportation organization.
Wilson's on-demand service RIDE received an America’s Transportation Award for “Best Use of Innovation and Technology" from the Southeastern Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials,or SASHTO. The award was presented at the SASHTO 80th Annual Conference earlier this month.
"The Wilson RIDE project continues to receive regional and national recognition as an innovative way to improve access to opportunities and services for residents,” said Ryan Brumfield, Director of NCDOT’s Integrated Mobility Division. “We appreciate SASHTO’s recognition of this exciting project and look forward to working with other transit agencies in North Carolina to deploy similar projects.”
The N.C. Department of Transportation supported the development of RIDE by providing technical assistance as Wilson developed the new service. The state agency also secured federal grant funding for the service. One such grant was the Federal Transit Administration’s Accelerating Innovative Mobility grant, which was awarded a year ago.
RIDE, which started operating in September 2020, is an on-demand ridesharing service done in partnership with Via. Users can schedule trips through an app or online and will be met by a RIDE vehicle to bring them to their stop. Along the way, the RIDE vehicle may stop to pick up other passengers heading in the same direction, similar to a ridesharing service. Microtransit services refer to on-demand public transportation that does not require pre-booking and is often supported by a phone application.
“The City of Wilson RIDE team is thrilled to have been selected by SASHTO for Best Use of Innovation and Technology for our new microtransit system,” said Rodger Lentz, Wilson’s Chief Planning and Development Officer. “It is rewarding to see that many other states and local governments are seeing the same benefits of microtransit that we have seen in our community.”
In its nominating application, NCDOT cited the service’s success and popularity among the public. Despite starting operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for RIDE has already outpaced pre-pandemic levels on Wilson’s traditional, fixed-route transit system.
America's Transportation Awards program, sponsored by the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials, AAA and the U. S. Chamber of Commerce, recognizes state transportation agencies for providing projects that make their communities a better place to live, work and play.
For more information about RIDE and other public transportation projects, visit NCDOT’s public transportation webpage.