Parents and children on electric bikes.
Photo from VBikes

More Transportation Choices

About half of the carbon pollution produced in Vermont comes from vehicles.  

Yet transportation makes our economy go.  How can we meet all our transportation needs, and still do our part to combat climate change?  One key path is to replace gasoline-powered vehicles with cleaner electric vehicles.  We also need a transportation system that gives Vermonters reliable and convenient alternatives for getting around with less driving alone.  

On this page:

Why It MattersMore Transportation Choices will Lower Emissions

People riding in a carpoolTransportation’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions in Vermont has steadily increased since 2005.  This is due in part to the recent dip in fossil fuel costs and the recovering economy, which have made travel more affordable.

We can bend this curve in the other direction. Vermonters can both reduce the total miles they travel each year and travel using methods that use less fossil fuel. To help Vermonters meet their travel needs, state and local governments can expand the transportation choices available.

Vermont’s Comprehensive Energy Plan sets a goal of holding our total “Vehicle Miles Traveled” (VMT) to 2011 levels. It also recommends many steps for providing more energy-efficient transportation choices – from reliable public transit, to safe routes to bike and walk, to more ride-sharing opportunities.

Vermont Spends $1.4 Billion per year on fuels for transport

Many Vermonters are figuring out ways to get out of their cars.  They are ride-sharing, taking commuter buses, and experimenting with electric cargo bikes.  Every mile we travel using cleaner transportation modes is a concrete step toward reducing air pollution , and saving part of the $1 billion we typically send out of state each year to purchase fossil fuels.

State iconWhat state agencies are doing

Vermont’s Comprehensive Energy Plan offers many ideas for improving our lower- carbon transportation options. The Agency of Transportation has already made great progress by:

  • Conductor helping passenger put their bike on the Vermonter Amtrak train.Launching Go!Vermont. This fun website offers many resources to Vermonters looking to reduce the cost and environmental impact of driving, including matching services for car and van pools, comprehensive information on public transit, biking, and other low carbon transportation solutions.
  • Helping Towns Make Biking and Walking Safe. VTrans has annual grants for municipalities that want to improve infrastructure to facilitate safe biking and walking.
  • Planning for Better Bus Transit and Rail Services. The Agency works with towns and regional planning commissions to allocate available funding to improve transit services.

Agencies Leading by Example

State agencies are making travel by state employees as efficient as possible. The Go Green Fleets Initiative is putting electric vehicles into the state fleet, and taking steps to reduce the total miles state employees and vehicles travel each year, such as maximizing the efficiency of trips, encouraging meetings by video conference, and allowing some telecommuting.

Take Action iconWhat You Can Do

It’s easy to lose track of the impact our own daily use of vehicles can have on the environment. Even small changes in the way we travel can significantly reduce carbon pollution, and save money too!

  • Two commuters sitting on a busReduce Your Miles in Cars and Trucks. Go!Vermont gives you all the information you need to plan alternative ways to travel that reduce carbon pollution.
  • Live Close to Where You Do Your Living.  Choosing a home that is located close to where you work, take kids to school, recreate, and shop, is one of the very best all-around climate solutions.
  • Woman riding an electric bikeTwo Wheels Are Better Than Four!  Go!Vermont offers many resources for Vermonters who want to bike more.  Also, check out VBIKE to learn about exciting new models, including electric and cargo bikes.  
  • Walk for Health and Clean Air. Walking pays great dividends for our health. Find out how your municipality can get a grant to improve sidewalks and other pedestrian-friendly improvements.
  • Get on Board!  Go!Vermont can keep you informed about bus providers and routes that help you reduce the cost and environmental impact of your trips. Using rail service offered by Amtrak is more efficient than driving, and it’s fun!
  • Share Cars and Trips. CarShare Vermont gives you the freedom to drive when you have to, without the cost and hassle of car ownership.  By using Zimride, you can offer or request rides for daily commutes, single road trips, and even to popular events.
  • Work from Home. Consider talking with your employer about a schedule that allows you to commute less, avoid peak travel times, or even work remotely.
  • Provide Options for Your Employees. If you own a business, consider bringing in a Vanpool or contacting your local Transportation Management Association for ideas on how to provide better commuting options for your employees (Chittenden County or Upper Valley).