New effort started to reduce traffic jams around Seacoast
The Cooperative Alliance for Seacoast Transportation (COAST ), which is based in Dover, recently hired Anne Rugg to coordinate a Transportation Management Association (TMA), which will use state and federal funds to bring officials and businesses together to identify needs and solutions to reduce commuting hassles.
“Everywhere you go, there’s traffic,” Rugg said.
Rugg said the program will receive $402,000 each year for the next three years from the U.S. Department of Transportation, with matching funds from the New Hampshire Turnpike Authority. She added they haven’t created a sustainability plan, but could rely on “some revenue from membership dues.”
To help, Rugg enlisted several members of the COAST board — including Scott Bogle, senior transportation manager for Rockingham Regional Planning Commission; Cynthia Copeland, executive director of the Strafford Regional Planning Commission; and Juliet Walker, transportation planner in Portsmouth.
Rugg said the group wants to analyze traffic patterns by assessing where area commuters and visitors come from, where they are going and what motivates them.
Rugg said she’s starting to reach out to employers in the region to talk about transportation issues and commuting options. She added she also plans to talk to communities to get links to commuting options — like COAST and ride share programs — on local websites
Both Bogle and Walker said the new program picks up from the remains of the Greater Seacoast Transportation Management Association, which was established in 2003 and worked on similar issues for several years until its funding stopped.
“This is to look broadly at the region,” Walker said, adding individual communities will benefit from the exchange of ideas.
As a result of the widespread workforce, Bogle said officials at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard instituted the Clipper Connect program, which established bus routes to bring in employees from around the area.
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