Transportation & Land Use
Transportation is the fastest growing greenhouse gas emissions sector in Vermont, representing almost half of the state’s total greenhouse gas pollution. While the rural nature of the Green Mountain State means that many Vermonters rely on their cars to get where they need to go, there are opportunities to expand other transportation options.
Energy Committees and volunteer groups can help reverse the growth in greenhouse gas emissions by identifying ways to encourage more use of mass transportation options. Creating convenient and affordable travel options (i.e., biking, walking, taking the bus, vanpooling, riding the train and carpooling) is essential to reduce our reliance on volatile fossil fuels and creating vibrant, resilient 21st century communities.
Planning our community with compact downtown centers and housing where we work and play is also essential to reducing energy costs related to transportation. Below, find links to organizations and resources that can help you tackle the transportation and land use issues facing your community.
Initiatives and Programs
Go! Vermont Resources, Tips, and Tricks
Find out about the innovative approaches, initiatives, success stories and strategies to foster transportation efficiency and walkable, bikeable, compact communities.
Using smart growth principles as a guide, VNRC promotes land use planning that creates communities that are environmentally sustainable, economically viable, and resilient.
New MileageSmart Capstone Program subsidizes the purchase of used efficient cars for income-eligible Vermonters allowing people to invest in a high-efficiency vehicle that will cut their monthly and long-term transportation costs and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The primary goal of Hinesburg Rides is to minimize the number of single-passenger trips in cars and establish a connected and sustainable community. There are three components to the program that address multiple transportation needs: a volunteer driver program for elderly and disabled individuals, ridesharing, and the employer partnership/ public transit program. From 2008- 2011 the volunteer driver program provided 360 rides for 70 residents. Local business NRG Systems committed to providing the town’s matching capital costs of obtaining two, 28-passenger buses. Hinesburg Rides also helped catalyze a new commuter bus route from Middlebury to Burlington along Route 116 which has been active for five years.
Read more on the Community Energy Dashboard.
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Drive Electric Vermont
Plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) continue to grow in popularity in Vermont. Auto dealers are offering new and updated models and adoption rates are outpacing the introduction of hybrids. Vermont charging station infrastructure continues to develop and inspire greater range confidence in EV owners.
Drive Electric Vermont is a coalition dedicated to promoting the spread of electric transportation by helping coordinate events, tracking adoption, encouraging charging infrastructure and developing partnerships designed to increase vehicle adoption. There are numerous benefits associated with EV adoption, including saving money on gasoline and maintenance costs, fun-to-drive performance reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and eliminating other harmful tailpipe pollutants. Read more
Town Transportation Toolkit
In both Vermont and New Hampshire, transportation is the largest single source of greenhouse gases. These emissions must be addressed on the national, regional, state, and local levels; this toolkit is for community volunteers who would like to locally tackle the climate impacts of our car-centered transportation system.
This toolkit is made up of three parts.
Introduction: context, priorities, and strategies for approaching transportation projects
Projects List: a couple dozen projects that are volunteer-friendly and will make a difference
Resources: organizations, government entities, toolkits and guides, and reading material Read more
Local energy groups have helped organize and participate in numerous events featuring EVs. Hosting an event in your community is easy.
Here are a few ideas:
- Display an EV at a community event, such as a farmers market.
- Create an EV-focused event, such as an EV demonstration with test drives/rides, workshops, etc.
- Teach a lesson on EVs at your local high school
- Promote workplace or public EV charging
- Check out the Electric Vehicle Planning Resources provided by the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission and Drive Electric Vermont. These tools include infrastructure planning guides, charging station information, and far more to help your community prepare for the future of transportation.
Visit the DEV website for basic information on EVs, cost savings, comparisons of models, information on public charging stations, testimonials from Vermonters, and more.
Go Vermont is a resource for Vermonters who want to reduce the cost and environmental impact of driving. We offer free carpool matching and vanpool services, and statewide bus routes, as well as free Go! Read more
We're a local non-profit that offers an easy and affordable alternative to owning a car. We've got a growing network of vehicles that you can use by the hour or day whenever you need to drive. Read more
Local Motion is Vermont's only statewide nonprofit advocate for walkable and bikeable communities. Learn more about who we are, how you can get involved, and how to get in touch with us below. For an overview of what we do, please visit the Our Work page. Read more
The advocacy group bringing super bike mobility to Vermont, even over our hills. Read more
Vermont Agency of Transportation
The Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) plans, develops, implements, and manages a statewide transportation network - including roads, bridges, railroads, airports, park-and-rides, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, and public transportation facilities and services. Read more
Vermont Association of Planning and Development Agencies (VAPDA)
VAPDA is devoted to sound planning principles that will enhance the quality of life for Vermont residents. Through a combination of environmental and economic planning strategies, VAPDA fosters a community environment that provides for the needs of both residents and our natural surroundings, today and for generations to come. Read more
Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development
Home to many of the strongest, most resilient communities in the country, Vermont integrates business and economic development with an unmatched quality of life and a sense of place. Here, residents and visitors alike come together to live, shop, meet neighbors, enjoy local food and make lasting memories. Read more
Vermont Planning Information Center
VPIC is brought to you by the Land Use Education and Training Collaborative, working together to coordinate and improve the delivery of land use education and training for local land use officials in Vermont. The Collaborative is a collection of agencies and organizations that provide technical assistance and education to local land use officials in Vermont. Read more