Research Triangle - North Carolina (USA)

Research Triangle - North Carolina (USA)


Located in the Piedmont of North Carolina, the Research Triangle (RT), popularly known as "The Triangle," is the geographical region anchored by the cities of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, and each city's renowned educational institutions, North Carolina State University, Duke University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, respectively. As a result of the innovative research and development taking place at these esteemed venues of higher learning and the superior quality of talented candidates each graduating class produces, the RT has become one of the world's most attractive places for global powerhouses and entrepreneurial pioneers to establish roots. Furthermore, the architects of the future continue to pursue pathways of discovery and the vast potential of high technology.

Prior to the late 1950s, the economy of the region was based in agriculture, furniture craft, and textiles. Tobacco farming and cotton production were crucial to the primarily low to modest-income labor force that lived and worked in the mostly rural communities.

However, as the demand for tobacco declined and manufacturing jobs were being relocated overseas, North Carolina's academic, business and political leaders sought a plan that would create a more sustainable future for the state's economy. Drawing from the rich resource of the area's academia, public-private partnerships were formed to capitalize on the research and development activity flourishing at the neighboring universities.

In 1959, Governor Luther Hodges broke ground on one of the first projects, The Research Triangle Park (RTP), with the help of local businessmen, Romeo Guest and Robert Hanes. Their mission was to attract high-tech companies by creating a business-oriented infrastructure that would benefit by employing local, highly-educated talent. Proximity to the research and development facilities present at the nearby universities was also a distinct advantage.

Today, RTP is one of the largest research parks in the world. Over 42,000 regular employees and 10,000 contractors work at over 170 companies that comprise the 7,000-acre RTP complex.


Out of an overall population of two million residents, over half are employed within "The Triangle." Thirteen counties surrounding Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, and Raleigh provide talent to the world's leading innovators in high-tech industries such as life sciences, energy, information technology, telecommunications, and pharmaceuticals. Research and development in evolving technologies such as biotechnology, gaming, microelectronics, and nanotechnology continues to grow as well.

The RT's three educational anchors, Duke, N.C. State, and UNC-Chapel, are located within a 20-minute drive of most "Triangle" companies. Eleven other colleges and universities are located in close proximity as well.

Over half of the workforce has a bachelor's degree or better. Continuous access to a local pool of innovative, highly-skilled graduates allows the RT companies to remain globally competitive. In addition, one of the prime advantages of doing business in the RT region is the ability to maintain continuous workforce development and enhanced skill programs in evolving technologies with convenient access to superior educational and training institutions readily available.

IBM, one of the first companies to call the RTP home, maintains its largest U.S. operation there, employing over 14,000 workers. Other global corporations with significant payrolls in the RTP are GlaxoSmithKline and Cisco Systems, which employ close to 10,000 people, combined.

Public-private partnerships flourish and remain essential components of the RT's thriving economy. It is estimated that over $2 billion in research conducted in "The Triangle" is funded by the federal government. Several government agencies, including the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Research Center,


The RT stretches across eight counties in North Carolina. Therefore, a sustainable, effective network is in place to ensure safe, cost-effective, eco-friendly commuting and travel options for citizens and visitors.

North Carolina maintains the second largest highway system in the U.S. Interstate Highway 40 runs east to west, connecting North Carolina to California. Atlanta, the District of Columbia, New York, and Philadelphia are less than a half a day drive from the RT.

Nine major public transit systems serve 'The Triangle'. Triangle Transit is the central transit operator with regional bus and shuttle services, paratransit options, and vanpools among many other commuter options transporting customers to and from the RT office buildings, educational institutions, air and rail travel services, and connections to the eight internal transit systems operated by the major cities comprising 'The Triangle'.

The mission of Triangle Transit and the other public transit authorities is to efficiently and safely move people around the RT while promoting environmentally-friendly and healthy lifestyle objectives. Therefore, several no-cost amenities, such as Wi-Fi and bike storage, are available to commuters using public transportation.

The Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) is located six miles from the RTP. Eight major and 18 regional airlines offer roughly 375 flights daily.

Twenty railroads with major passenger and freight routes run through or near "Triangle" cities and the RTP. Amtrak offers six trains daily with stops in Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh and six other cities in North Carolina.

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