Piedmont Triad

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Piedmont Triad
Greensboro Skyline.jpg
Winston-Salem skyline.jpg
Images from top to bottom, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and High Point
CountryUnited States
StateNorth Carolina
Largest cityGreensboro
Area Codes336/743
 • Land5,954 sq mi (15,420 km2)

The Piedmont Triad (or simply the Triad) is a metropolitan region in the north-central part of the U.S. state of North Carolina anchored by three cities: Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and High Point. This close group of cities lies in the Piedmont geographical region of the United States and forms the basis of the Greensboro–Winston-Salem–High Point Combined Statistical Area. As of 2012, the Piedmont Triad has an estimated population of 1,611,243 making it the 33rd largest combined statistical area in the United States.[1]

The metropolitan area is connected by Interstates 40, 85, 73, and 74 and is served by the Piedmont Triad International Airport. Long known as one of the primary manufacturing and transportation hubs of the southeastern United States, the Triad is also an important educational, healthcare, and cultural region and occupies a prominent place in the history of the American Civil Rights Movement.[2]

The Triad is not to be confused with the "Triangle" region (RaleighDurhamChapel Hill), directly to the east.


As part of a redefining of metropolitan areas by the US Census Bureau, the old Greensboro–Winston-Salem–High Point Metropolitan Statistical Area was broken up in 2003 into five separate areas—three Metropolitan Statistical Areas and two Micropolitan Areas. In some ways, however, the region still functions as a single metropolitan area.[3]

Location of the Greensboro–Winston-Salem–High Point Combined Statistical Area and its components:
  Greensboro–High Point Metropolitan Statistical Area
  Winston-Salem Metropolitan Statistical Area
  Burlington Metropolitan Statistical Area
  Mount Airy Micropolitan Statistical Area
County 2021 Estimate 2020 Census Change
Guilford County[4] 542,410 541,299 +0.21%
Forsyth County[5] 385,523 382,590 +0.77%
Alamance County 173,877 171,415 +1.44%
Davidson County 170,637 168,930 +1.01%
Randolph County 145,172 144,171 +0.69%
Rockingham County[6] 91,266 91,096 +0.19%
Surry County 71,152 71,359 −0.29%
Stokes County 44,553 44,520 +0.07%
Davie County 43,533 42,712 +1.92%
Yadkin County 37,192 37,214 −0.06%
Total 1,705,315 1,699,123 +0.36%


Definitions of the Piedmont Triad:
  Additional included area according to Piedmont Triad Council of Governments and Piedmont Triad Partnership
The name in italics is the county in which the city is located.

Primary cities[edit]

Secondary cities over 10,000 in population[edit]

Other municipalities under 10,000 in population[edit]


K–12 education[edit]

The area is served by the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools and Guilford County Schools. The area is home to a number of religious schools, as well as a number of independent schools including Wesleyan Christian Academy and High Point Christian Academy in High Point, Summit School in Winston-Salem, Forsyth Country Day School in Lewisville, Greensboro Day School and Greensboro Montessori School in Greensboro.

Educational institutions[edit]

More than 20 institutions of higher education are located within the Triad, including:

Cottrell Hall at High Point University
Wait Chapel at Wake Forest University

Three prominent boarding schools also call the Triad home: Salem Academy, Oak Ridge Military Academy, and the American Hebrew Academy.


Major art and historical museums contribute to the cultural climate of the region, including the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA), The Reynolda House Museum of American Art, Old Salem, High Point Historical Museum, Mendenhall Plantation, the Weatherspoon Museum of Modern Art (located on the campus of UNCG), Blandwood Mansion and Gardens, the Greensboro Historical Museum, Guilford Battleground National Military Park, and the Charlotte Hawkins Brown State Museum. The area also has its fair share of scientific museums, such as SciWorks, the International Civil Rights Center and Museum, the Wake Forest Museum of Anthropology, and the Greensboro Science Center. The North Carolina Zoo, the world's largest open-air natural habitat zoo, is located just outside the Randolph County city of Asheboro.


The economy in the Piedmont Triad is a mixed economy.[11]

Industry and manufacturing[edit]

The Triad area is notable for large textile, tobacco, and furniture corporations. The Triad remains a national center for textile manufacturing, represented by corporations including Hanes based in Winston-Salem, Glen Raven, Inc. based in Glen Raven, and International Textile Group, based in Greensboro. Tobacco remains a prominent crop in the Triad's rural areas and many tobacco companies like Lorillard Tobacco Company of Greensboro and Reynolds American, based in Winston-Salem, call the Piedmont Triad home. Numerous furniture manufacturers are also headquartered in the Triad area, especially in the cities of High Point (deemed the "Furniture Capital of the World"), Thomasville (known as the "Chair City"), and Lexington. The furniture and textile industries have in turn spawned large trucking, logistics, and warehousing businesses in the area. Popular brands like "Thomasville" and "Lexington" are derived from the names of these cities. Recently, however, many furniture and tobacco factories have been closing and/or laying off workers across the region in response to escalating industrial globalization.

Technology and biotechnology[edit]

After many of the old industries in the area began to die out, many Piedmont Triad cities began encouraging technological businesses to move into the Triad. Winston-Salem, for instance, founded within its downtown the Piedmont Triad Research Park, now known as Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, a highly interactive, 200-acre, master-planned innovation community developed to support life science and information technology research and development. Dell, Inc. in the early 2000s struck a deal with local officials allowing for the construction of a new computer assembly plant near the Triad city of Kernersville. Dell pulled out of its contract with the city, however, and left after only a few years. Additionally, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, the largest institution of higher learning in the region, and North Carolina A&T State University have joined forces to establish the Gateway University Research Park, a technology-based entity that will focus its efforts on a host of biological, life, and environmental science research projects. Upon full build out of the project, it is expected to be housed by two 75-acre (300,000 m2) campuses, employ approximately 2,000 people, and generate $50 million per year to the Triad economy. LabCorp, one of the largest clinical laboratories in the world, has its corporate headquarters and several of its testing facilities in Burlington.


The following are the most prominent regional shopping centers/malls in the Piedmont Triad region:


Major roads and cities in the Piedmont Triad and two other nearby counties. The blue triangle represents the three points of the "Triad".

Primary highways[edit]

The Triad is home to an extensive freeway network, which is in the process of undergoing a major expansion. Four major Interstate highways and numerous secondary Interstate routes and US routes serve the region:

Interstate highways
  • I-40.svg I-40, the primary east–west route across the region. In the eastern Triad, it is conjoined with I-85. The two routes split in Greensboro.
    • I-840.svg I-840 (Painter Boulevard), part of the Greensboro Urban Loop, currently under construction. When complete, I-840 will form the northern half of the loop.
  • I-73.svg I-73, the primary north–south route across the region, much of which has yet to be constructed. The route mostly carries portions of US 220 along it, with the exception of the portion along Bryan Boulevard, and another segment that shares the southwestern portion of the Greensboro Outer Loop, and was briefly designated as I-40 before its opening in February, 2008. This portion was originally designated as I-40, with the current and original I-40 being re-designated as Business 40.
  • I-74.svg I-74, running across the region from southeast to northwest. Like I-73, much of the route has yet to be constructed, but several disjointed segments are currently open and signed as either I-74 or "FUTURE I-74". The route enters the region from the south conjoined with I-73, and diverges from there north of Asheboro toward High Point. The southern segment presently terminates at an intersection with I-40 east of Winston-Salem; new freeway is being built that will form the eastern segment of the Winston-Salem Beltway. The northern segment leaves US 52 in Mount Airy, heading northwest out of the region.
    • I-274.svg I-274, currently only in the planning stages, is the proposed designation for the western half of the Winston-Salem Beltway.
  • I-85.svg I-85, connects the region to Charlotte and points southwest. Enters from the east conjoined with I-40, and splits from that route in Greensboro.
    • Business Loop 85.svg I-85 Business (Green-85), a business route between Lexington and Greensboro, consists of a former temporary alignment of I-85 that is a partial-controlled access highway. A former northern segment, which received its designation when a new I-85 was opened as part of the Greensboro Urban Loop, is entirely freeway.
    • I-285.svg I-285, connecting Winston-Salem to Lexington, is currently part of the US 52 freeway being upgraded to Interstate standards.
    • I-785.svg I-785, connecting Greensboro to Danville, Virginia, the route is under development. It is currently part of US 29, much of which is not Interstate standard.
US highways
  • US 29.svg US 29 runs roughly northeast to southwest across the region. Most of the route is either concurrent with, or parallel to Interstate highways, including I-785 (when completed) and I-85 (parallel).
  • US 52.svg US 52 runs north–south through the region, serving as the main north–south freeway route through Winston-Salem. The entire freeway is planned for upgrade to Interstate standards. North of Winston-Salem most of the route is scheduled to become part of I-74 (until Exit 140 where existing I-74 starts and travels west along its own freeway, and US 52 continues north into town via expressway), while south of the city it is cosigned with I-285.
  • US 64.svg US 64 is an east–west highway through the southern Triad, connecting Asheboro, Lexington, and Mocksville.
  • US 70.svg US 70 is an east–west highway that closely parallels I-85 through the entire region.
  • US 158.svg US 158 runs roughly northeast–southwest across the region, terminating in Mocksville at US 601 and US 64, just south of I-40.
  • US 220.svg US 220 is currently the primary north–south route through Greensboro, and travels nearly symmetrically through the middle of the region; most of the route runs along I-73, except between Greensboro and Summerfield where it is named "Battleground Avenue" .
  • US 311.svg US 311 is a nominally north–south route that runs northeast–southwest between Danville, VA and Winston-Salem. The former alignment south of Winston-Salem has been fully signed as I-74; work has begun on US 311 signage removal on this alignment.
  • US 421.svg US 421 enters the region from the southeast, and joins I-85 in Greensboro. It then takes I-85 South to I-73 North to western Greensboro. The route is then co-signed with I-40 briefly. After leaving Greensboro, it continues westward through Winston-Salem, the rural area of Yakdinville, and continues into Wilkesboro.
Other routes and highways


Piedmont Triad International Airport (PTI)[edit]

Mass transportation[edit]

Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation (PART) is the Triad's 10-county regional organization with the goal of enhancing all forms of transportation through regional cooperation. PART Express Bus provides express service to each major Triad city from Piedmont Triad International Airport, while Connections Express connects the Triad to Duke and UNC Medical Centers. PART also has Express Bus service to outlying counties that surround the Triad including Surry, Stokes, Davidson, Yadkin, and Randolph Counties and soon to be Davie County. PART is also administering and developing several rail service studies that include both commuter and intercity rail.


The region is served by the Piedmont Triad Regional Council (PTRC). The PTRC was formed by the merger of the Northwest Piedmont Council of Governments and Piedmont Triad Council of Governments on July 1, 2011. The PTRC is a membership organization of the 12 counties and 62 municipalities in the Triad region.

Protected areas[edit]

The Piedmont Triad has several protected areas, which lay entirely or partly in the region:



The following are prominent newspapers in the Piedmont Triad region and the counties each newspaper covers.


  • The Old Gold & Black, a free daily student newspaper at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem

Television stations[edit]

All of the Piedmont Triad region belongs to the Greensboro/Winston-Salem/High Point television designated market area (DMA). The following are stations that broadcast to this DMA. These stations are listed by call letters, virtual channel number, network and city of license.


FM stations[edit]

AM stations[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Population Estimates 2012 Combined Statistical Areas: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on March 17, 2013. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
  2. ^ "Greensboro Sit-In". HISTORY. Retrieved 2020-04-10.
  3. ^ Catanoso, Justin. "Commute patterns 'rescue' Triad MSA". Triad Business Journal. The Business Journals. Retrieved 23 November 2021.
  4. ^ "Guilford County (1771)". North Carolina History Project. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  5. ^ "Forsyth County (1849)". North Carolina History Project. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  6. ^ "Rockingham County (1785)". North Carolina History Project. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  7. ^ "North Carolina A&T State University". ncat.edu. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  8. ^ "UNC Greensboro". uncg.edu. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  9. ^ "Wake Forest University". wfu.edu. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  10. ^ "Winston-Salem State University". wssu.edu. Retrieved July 19, 2022.
  11. ^ Barron, Richard (December 30, 2021). "Greensboro and Triad mirror nation's mixed economy, with a positive outlook". Greensboro News & Record. Retrieved July 19, 2022.
  12. ^ "Four Seasons Town Centre: Shopping Mall in Greensboro, NC". shopfourseasons.com. Retrieved July 19, 2022.
  13. ^ "Friendly Center – Greensboro". friendlycenter.com. Retrieved July 19, 2022.
  14. ^ "Hanes Mall". shophanesmall.com. Retrieved July 19, 2022.
  15. ^ "Asheboro Mall". shopasheboromall.com. Retrieved July 19, 2022.

Coordinates: 35°57′21″N 80°00′19″W / 35.9557°N 80.0053°W / 35.9557; -80.0053