The Ocracoke Express passenger ferry pulls into Ocracoke’s Silver Lake harbor. Photo: C. Leinbach

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The Ocracoke Express passenger ferry and tram service are among those up for the Most Voted category in the N.C. Department of Transportation’s annual Mobi Awards.

Anyone can go online to cast a vote for the state’s best multimodal transportation project.

People are welcome to visit the N.C. Department of Transportation’s website to cast a ballot for the Most Voted Project in this year’s NCDOT Mobi Awards. The deadline for voting in the Most Voted Project category is midnight March 4.

In 2013, due to shoaling in ferry channels, the NCDOT Ferry Division began using a longer route between Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands which increased crossing and wait times, decreased daily crossings and increased operational costs.

A feasibility study in 2016 recommended a different type of vessel to help alleviate those issues.

In May 2019, the Division launched its first pedestrian ferry service, the Ocracoke Express. Since the 2019 season the Division has had additional successful seasons, with a total of almost 50,000 passengers.

A free circulator tram connects passengers with key destinations on Ocracoke and removes vehicles from the island.

Dave Schroeder is one of the drivers of the free Ocracoke tram services that operates in conjunction with the passenger ferry. Photo: C. Leinbach

Winners of the contest’s other five categories will be determined by a panel of judges.

“The Most Voted Project category is an excellent way for the public to give their opinion on what makes a great community transportation project,” said Julie White, deputy secretary for Multimodal Transportation for NCDOT. “Multimodal investments can be catalysts for economic return and improvements in quality of life.”

The Mobi Awards recognize projects that provide communities with at least two modes of transportation such as rail, aviation, bicycle, pedestrian, public transportation, highways and ferries. Examples include greenways, streetscape projects, and bridges with walking paths.

For the Most Voted Project category, people can vote up to three times a day for their favorite project.

Once people have voted, the thumbs up button will go from reading “Vote” to “Voted,” and the score beside the entry will increase. The project with the most votes wins.

This year’s contest features more than 30 entrants in communities from the mountains to the coast. Entries were accepted from Jan. 10 to Feb. 10.

Winners in all six categories will be announced at a May 4 luncheon event at the Raleigh Marriott City Center, 500 Fayetteville St., in Raleigh.

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