GWTA transfer center

Don Willis, right, Goldsboro-Wayne Transportation Authority executive director, and driver Edward Jones go over some paperwork Wednesday morning while sitting in the authority’s transfer center. The center took honorable mention honors in the rural division in the N.C. Department of Transportation’s inaugural Mobi Awards.

The Goldsboro-Wayne Transportation Authority transfer center on North Carolina Street earned honorable mention in the rural division in the N.C. Department of Transportation’s inaugural Mobi Awards.

The awards were established to honor towns, cities and counties for completing game-changing projects that used different modes of transportation to make travel easier and more efficient.

Winners were chosen in five categories: rural, suburban, urban, tourism and innovation. All projects were eligible to apply for the innovation category.

Judges from across the state chose the winners based on a project’s success at leveraging public and private investment, spurring economic development, creating long-term jobs, improving health, benefiting the community and contributing to the community or state in other significant ways

To qualify, a project must have been completed within the last five years and had to include two or more modes of transportation involving aviation, bicycle/pedestrian, ferry, public transportation, rail or roadway.

The state put out a call for nominations, and GWTA applied, said Don Willis, GWTA executive director.

There was a lot of competition, more than 60 projects, Willis said.

“We felt very honored to be a finalist, be invited to the ceremony,” he said. “We felt very honored to compete so well. Our project is less than five years old. Of course, that was good, but we also had a lot of strong competition because there were so many years of eligible projects. There were a lot of projects across whole modes that we were competitive against.

“We really wanted to highlight the intermodal facility here, that there’s lots of connectivity here — not just with Greyhound, but also Amtrak. We also make connections here in the downtown area, the redevelopment that is going on downtown. We are also really close to a major road. So, we felt that the transfer center was situated in an ideal location that touches many modes of transportation.”

There are a number of connections that can be made at the transfer center other than local transportation.

Greyhound buses make stops twice a day, in the morning and afternoon. Riders can take a bus to Raleigh or Jacksonville where they can make more connections in the Greyhound network, Willis said.

“Usually around 1 o’clock, an Amtrak connector bus will come here, and you can make a connection to Amtrak in Wilson and get into their network,” he said. “Beyond that, we are doing several other things. One is a Downeast Express Service that comes in the morning. Usually, it is here by 7:30. Many of our neighboring counties will bring their passengers here to our transfer center.

“They will be picked up by the Downeast Express and they will go to appointments at Duke, Chapel Hill, WakeMed, even people who may want to go to the RDU Airport. We are also currently piloting the Mount Olive connector service. So we are making connections three times a day — early in the morning, midday and at the end of the day down into Mount Olive for service down there.”

DOT Secretary Jim Trogdon and Julie White, DOT deputy secretary for multimodal transportation, presented the awards.

“Our transportation system must be designed to meet the complex needs of the rapidly growing population of North Carolina,” Trogdon said. “The North Carolina Department of Transportation is committed to designing and delivering projects communities want, need and will use. NCDOT Mobi Awards celebrate communities that are at the forefront of delivering multimodal projects. We are proud to partner with these communities to deliver these projects.”

The ceremony, hosted by the DOT, Women Transportation Seminars, N.C. Go! and the N.C. State University Institute for Transportation Research and Education, was held at N.C. State’s Centennial Campus.

The city of Sanford’s downtown Streetscape project won first place in the rural category. Honorable mentions also went to the Western Piedmont Council of Governments for its Burke Flex Bus Services, and the Northwest Piedmont Rural Planning Organization for the Granite City Greenway Phase 3.