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New Orange County transportation director aims to expand services

A GO Triangle bus stops at a bus stop on West Franklin Street in Chapel Hill on Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022.

Orange County announced Nish Trivedi as its new transportation director on Sept. 1. 

Trivedi said he plans to prioritize the transportation needs of the community through an expansion of services and increased collaboration with other departments and agencies.

He started his work with Orange County in 2017 when he was hired as a transportation planner in the planning and inspection department. In this role, he led and coordinated all transportation projects and collaborated with local, regional and federal agencies.

Beginning in April 2022, Trivedi served as the interim transportation director for Orange County. 

Trivedi said in an email that as interim director, he met with transit staff to understand how to best address their issues. He also worked to make Mobility on Demand services available five to six days per week. 

He added that he helped Orange County reach its goal to create a single department responsible for many modes of transportation. The county is implementing a new structure related to transportation and planning. 

"Orange County now has one department responsible for all things transportation related," Trivedi said in an email. "That in itself is new for the county."

Trivedi added that he applied for the transportation director position when the application was posted and was selected from a pool of many other applicants.

“Now, I hold myself to a higher standard, I’m no longer temporary,” he said in an email. “As director, I work harder being appreciative of the opportunity.”

Now that he is director, Trivedi said he hopes to convert the Orange County Public Transportation bus fleet to electric vehicles. He said he also wants to help the state meet its Vision Zero initiative, which aims to eliminate roadway deaths and injuries in North Carolina. 

He said Orange County Public Transportation will continue to collaborate with Chapel Hill Transit through the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Orange County Board of County Commissioners Chairperson Renee Price said she worked with Trivedi when she was on the board of the DCHC-MPO.

“He was always on top of the issues, always on top of the meetings and even among staff members in different jurisdictions or local jurisdictions, he was regarded for his skill and his knowledge and the way he comports himself,” she said.

Price said getting along with other people and building relationships — which she said Trivedi has done — is important for being a good leader.

"He can work with all these people, various people within the profession, whether it's land use, planning or transportation, housing, all of these work together, they’re interrelated,” she said. 

Trivedi said he got involved in transportation because of its importance to everyday life — and everyone uses roads.  

"Whether a person is cycling or walking for recreation and health or traveling by transit or car to and from work, school, shopping or other activities," he said. "EMS and freight use the public roads just as often as people, cars and transit services, saving lives and advancing commerce." 

Chapel Hill Transit bus operator Adrian Outlaw said having a well-organized and efficient transportation system helps with the traffic, especially around UNC’s campus. 

He said the transportation system in Chapel Hill benefits community members because many places in the town are spread out, and the bus system is an important way for people to get to the hospital or to go shopping, for example.

Outlaw said the transportation system is oriented like a family business, as he gets to interact with the local community. 

“I’m happy that I get to meet people every day that use the bus system, and talk to different folks from different walks of earth," he said. "Really, you get to meet different types of people every day, and that’s the good part about transit.”

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Lucy Marques

Lucy Marques is a 2023-24 assistant city & state editor at The Daily Tar Heel. She was previously a city & state senior writer. Lucy is a junior pursuing a double major in political science and Hispanic literatures and cultures.

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