Are you prepared to travel during the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver?

Join this week's TravelSmart 2010 Challenge and test your travel plans ahead of time

This week's challenge: reducing vehicle traffic by 15 per cent in downtown core

VANCOUVER, Jan. 20 /CNW/ - The Olympic and Paralympic Transportation Team (OPTT) would like to issue a big thank you to all the commuters, delivery drivers and residents in downtown Vancouver who are stepping up and taking part in the weekly TravelSmart 2010 Challenge.

By reading up on their travel options at www.travelsmart2010.ca and putting them into action now, Vancouver will be ready to welcome the world and ensure a great experience for all during the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Some are taking public transit or cycling to the office. Others are teleworking or changing their work hours to avoid the Games-time peak travel times into downtown Vancouver between 7:00 am to 9:00 am and 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

As the third week of the challenge takes place on Friday, January 22, there is more work to be done to encourage drivers who frequently travel by car in downtown Vancouver to start practising their Games-time travel plans now.

The TravelSmart 2010 Challenge, which promotes incremental reductions in vehicle traffic as phased-in road closures go into place, is taking place in the city on each Friday leading up to the Opening Ceremony on February 12. By trying out your Games-time travel plans now, and planning ahead to "know before you go," Vancouver will be well prepared to manage road closures, significantly reduced on-street public parking and the tens of thousands more people in the city associated with one of the world's largest sporting events.

    
    -   Last week's road closure: Quebec Street between 2nd Avenue and
        Terminal (as of January 15)
    -   This week's road closure: Renfrew Street between McGill and Dundas
        (as of January 24)
    -   This Friday's vehicle traffic reduction goal: 15 per cent
    -   Overall vehicle traffic reduction goal: At least a 30 per cent
        reduction by February 12 and throughout the Games
    

"We can make transportation one of the greatest successes of our Games if everyone pulls together and plays their own part by travelling smart in downtown Vancouver," Terry Wright, executive vice president, services and Games operations for the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC), said on behalf of the OPTT.

To track the progress of the challenge in reducing vehicle traffic on an incremental basis, the City of Vancouver is conducting data monitoring on behalf of the OPTT each Friday and reporting on the vehicle traffic reduction results publicly the following week.

Last Friday, at the end of the first full week of data collection for the TravelSmart 2010 Challenge, four per cent of drivers left their vehicles at home when driving into downtown Vancouver. There were 110,000 trips on the Canada Line and 18,000 trips on the SeaBus, all contributing to a reduction in vehicle traffic.

"Already, we can see that people are starting to make new travel plans, leaving their vehicle at home and choosing sustainable modes of transportation," said Penny Ballem, city manager, City of Vancouver. "But, as our goal this week is a 15 per cent reduction, we need more to join in the TravelSmart 2010 Challenge, and to test their travel plans now before the Winter Games begin. It's all about planning ahead to avoid surprises and make the Games a success."

To date, more than 200 companies have also signed up and shared their Games-time travel plans for their employees and deliveries with the OPTT. For more information on how to build a Games-time travel plan, contact travelsmart@translink.ca.

All companies who commit to reducing vehicle traffic and share their travel plan will be entered in a weekly draw leading up to the Games for a chance to win 50 tickets to nightly Victory Ceremonies at BC Place, where Olympic athletes will stand on the podium to receive their medals and top Canadian entertainment will rock the crowd. Thirteen companies will win sets of 50 tickets each. The tickets are a great way to reward employees, business associates and customers for changing their travel behaviour to help make the Games a success.

Already, Certified General Accountants Association of BC, Goldcorp Inc., S.U.C.C.E.S.S, and the Vancouver Foundation have won tickets through the draw.

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 the information they are seeking, such as the City of Vancouver, Resort Municipality of Whistler, TransLink, BC Transit, or VANOC.

About the OPTT

Members of the Olympic and Paralympic Transportation Team (OPTT) are VANOC, the City of Vancouver, Resort Municipality of Whistler, TransLink, BC Transit, the provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, and the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit. Planning is also supported by other partners, including Transport Canada and the municipalities of Richmond and West Vancouver.

About VANOC

VANOC is responsible for the planning, organizing, financing and staging of the XXI Olympic Winter Games and the X Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. The 2010 Olympic Winter Games will be staged in Vancouver and Whistler from February 12 to 28, 2010. Vancouver and Whistler will host the Paralympic Winter Games from March 12 to 21, 2010. Visit www.vancouver2010.com.

SOURCE VANCOUVER ORGANIZING COMMITTEE FOR THE 2010 OLYMPIC AND PARALYMPIC WINTER GAMES

For further information: For further information: Media Contact: Emily Hamer, VANOC Communications, (604) 403-2238, emily_hamer@vancouver2010.com

Organization Profile

VANCOUVER ORGANIZING COMMITTEE FOR THE 2010 OLYMPIC AND PARALYMPIC WINTER GAMES

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VANOC

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